Residents with Kansas Department of Corrections return from Arizona


KANSAS – Residents with the Kansas Department of Corrections that were sent to Arizona have returned.

The Kansas Department of Corrections says residents housed at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, AZ, have now returned to the Lansing Correctional Facility. It said the 118 residents cleared all COVID-19 testing protocols before their return to the state. It said in order to further protect the health of the community, the residents will stay in quarantine for 21 days at LCF before being relocated to other KDOC facilities.

According to KDOC, in October of 2019, it transferred the residents to the private prison in Arizona due to a contract with CoreCivic, which is based out of Nashville. It said this was done to manage overcapacity issues in Kansas prisons and anticipated population growth.

Jeff Zmuda, secretary of corrections, said while sending the residents to Arizona was less than ideal, it was the best option available to the department at the time to protect the safety of all staff and residents.

“We had planned to return our residents to Kansas by the end of June 2020,” Zmuda said. “However, this plan was disrupted by the pandemic. We continued to revisit the original plan and have determined returning our residents at this time is in the best interest of all those involved.”

KDOC said two of its officials were onsite in Arizona the week of Dec. 7, to discuss with the residents the planned move and answer questions. It said CoreCivic provided transportation from the facility in Arizona to Kansas for the medium and maximum security residents.