Virus kindles festering problems in Kansas prisons

With COVID-19 infection rate well above the state average, Kansas prison officials must contend with another issue that has added stress to the beleaguered system. Calls for releasing some inmates have increased.

By and

State News

May 11, 2020 - 9:16 AM

Photo by Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service /

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lansing inmate Michael Yardley’s sense of taste and smell has faded, a tell-tale sign of the coronavirus that’s infected 551 of his fellow prisoners and killed three.

“I feel like I’m in a tomb,” the 42-year-old said during a phone call Tuesday.

Kansas prisons have been under stress from years of understaffing, rising inmate populations and riots. Talk of overhauling the state’s criminal justice system and releasing large numbers of low-level offenders remains just that.

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