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General Questions

by Nancy Burghart — last modified Aug 29, 2023 01:04 PM


Is smoking allowed by staff and residents?
No. The KDOC became a tobacco-free environment in March 2003.

Are the resident living units air conditioned?
No. However, residents housed in facilities with or without appropriate circulation or air-handling systems are permitted to have an electric fan in their cell/bunk-area except as required for safety and/or security considerations. Fans are purchased with Inmate Benefit Fund monies for indigent residents. Non-indigent residents may purchase fans through the facility's canteen.

Why is a non-maximum custody resident in a maximum-security facility?

The security designation of a correctional facility is based upon its physical attributes (i.e., architectural, environmental) and, as it relates to residents, the type of physical constraints deemed appropriate for a particular resident. The security designation represents the highest custody resident that the facility may hold. For example, a maximum-security facility is capable of housing minimum-, medium- and maximum-custody residents. A minimum-security facility is capable of housing only minimum-custody residents. 

Why are residents allowed to possess electronic equipment (radios, televisions, mp3 players, etc.,)?
Eligible residents are allowed to possess electronic equipment in an effort to prevent problems due to resident idleness.

Who provides funding for residents to obtain electronic equipment while in prison?
Residents are responsible for providing their own electronic equipment through personal funds derived from assigned work programs or funds sent in from outside sources.

How is recreation/leisure time equipment funded for the resident population?
Equipment is provided through the Inmate Benefit Fund. The majority of the fund is comprised of proceeds from the resident canteen contract and telephone services.

What is available in the facility canteen for residents to purchase?
A facility canteen is a store through which residents are provided an opportunity to purchase allowable items such as for hygiene, snacks or other property items. For a list of available items and the cost of the items, please visit the canteen section.

Are residents compensated when assigned to work programs?
Depending on skill level, residents may earn from $0.45 to $1/05 per day.

Are resident work details available to perform work for community organizations?
Please check with each individual correctional facility directly for information regarding assistance with local government or public non-profit organization projects.

Are residents financially responsible for housing and services they receive while incarcerated?
During incarceration, residents are assessed the following fees:

  • $2.00 sick call fee per visit if medical and dental services are initiated by the resident. Funds collected assist the Department in offsetting costs associated with health care contracts.
  • $1.00 monthly administrative fee for handling of resident trust funds. Collected fees are placed in the Crime Victims Compensation Fund.
  • $5.35 fee for each urinalysis test having positive result is assessed upon conclusion of the disciplinary process if the resident is found guilty. Collected fees are utilized to defray costs incurred in administering urinalysis tests.
  • Residents employed by private industry receive minimum wage and above. These residents are responsible for paying the State of Kansas 25% of gross wages per week for room and board. In addition, their earnings are subject to the following deductions: taxes, mandatory savings, victim restitution, dependent support, and fines/court costs.
  • Funds that residents receive from sources exterior to the Kansas Department of Corrections are subject to a 10% mandatory savings withholding (after deduction of any outstanding obligations), with the proceeds to be deposited into a mandatory savings account, which will accrue interest. These funds are provided to the resident upon release to assist them in improving their chance for a successful transition into society.

What is an inter-facility transfer?

Residents may be transferred to any KDOC facility consistent with the custody classification, gender and other medical and/or programmatic needs of the resident and/or the management and operational needs of the KDOC.

A resident initiated, inter-facility transfer request must be submitted to the resident's unit team counselor through a Form-9. Residents in need of security transfers are given priority followed by those who have medical and mental health issues and program needs. Visitation is important but does not take priority over these other transfer needs. As much as the KDOC would like to house all residents near family and support group members, the KDOC is not able to accommodate every visitation transfer request. Those residents with the best record and who have waited the longest are given priority in granting visitation transfers.

What is the interstate compact?
Kansas has adopted an interstate compact with approximately 30 states that allows for the placement of a small number of Kansas residents in those states as needed for security considerations and subject to the approval of the other state. Interstate compact transfers are not considered for visitation purposes. 

What is a lockdown?
Although infrequent, a lockdown can occur in cases of emergencies, disturbances or disruptions of a general nature or that involve a substantial number of residents. While in lockdown status, residents remain in their cells. Visitation, phone calls, along with resident work programs and activities, are halted during a lockdown. 

What is good time?
Residents who demonstrate good work and behavior are eligible to earn good time credits which decrease part of the term of their incarceration.

Residents sentenced under the indeterminate sentencing structure are eligible to earn good time credits at a rate of 50 percent (one day earned for one day served). Residents sentenced under the determinate sentencing structure are eligible to earn good time credits at a rate of either 15 percent or 20 percent, depending on the date the crime was committed. Offenders sentenced under the determinate sentencing structure are also eligible to earn good time credits during their period of post-release supervision at a rate of 50 percent.

Good time credits may be withheld or forfeited for failure to comply with rules and regulations, resulting in the resident remaining in prison for a longer period of time. Good time credits withheld or forfeited on post-release supervision will result in the offender remaining under supervision for a longer period of time. 

How is an resident's sentence computed and how does good time work?
Please see the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Desk Reference Manual available through the Kansas Sentencing Commission.

Residents earn good time in accordance with their sentences while incarcerated. The crime carrying the longest sentence and post-release time is the sentence that will be used to compute the amount of time that will be served.

Upon completion of the prison portion of the imposed sentence, a resident may be released to serve a term of post-release supervision, plus the amount of good time earned and retained while imprisoned.

If the resident is released to post release and finishes the post release without being revoked, the offender will then start serving the good time the offender earned while incarcerated. If the offender is on post release and is revoked, the offender will be brought back in to a correctional facility.

If the resident is a parole violator and was sentenced under the indeterminate sentencing law, the resident would be held until seen by the Kansas Parole Board.

Sentence computation is completed by a special unit at the KDOC’s central office.

Kansas sentencing laws are very complex and every detail cannot be covered here. This is intended to provide a general understanding of the good time processes. 

What does sex offender management status mean?
The KDOC may manage residents as sex offenders based on their convictions or behavior. This status may affect the classification, visitation and available programming while incarcerated. It may also affect a resident's supervision upon release. This status may include any resident with one or more of the following: current sex crime conviction, prior adult or juvenile sex crime conviction, conviction for sexually-motivated crime, institutional behavior that shows a pattern of sexually-motivated behavior and/or designation as sex offender by the override panel. 

Can a resident's sex offender management status be changed?
Residents may request an override of their sex offender status by submitting a request that includes the specific guidelines they would like changed to the Unit Team or Parole Officer, depending on the resident's or offender’s location. Specific sex offender conditions examples are: contact with minors, attending sex offender treatment or being managed as a sex offender.

The Unit Team or Parole Officer will complete and submit an override packet to the KDOC’s central office for review by an override panel, which meets once a month. 

Are religious services/programs available to residents?
Every resident has the right to freedom of religious affiliation and voluntary worship. The exercise of such rights may be subject to the requirements of ensuring the safe, secure and orderly operation of the correctional facility. Chaplains and volunteers provide a range of religious services, pastoral counseling, study groups and other special events. 

Can a resident and I have a wedding ceremony in a correctional facility?
Yes. Residents make their request through the pastoral care department at which time the chaplain will follow a set of guidelines and protocol for the events leading up to the ceremony that must be approved by the Warden. This will include careful planning and may include marital counseling. The chaplain will lead the couple through this process and advise them of the criteria while keeping administrative staff informed of the proceedings.

All expenses associated with the marriage ceremony are the responsibility of the resident or prospective spouse. 

Can a resident be released to attend a funeral or make a bedside visit?
No. The loss of a loved one is a traumatic and stressful time that is intensified by also being incarcerated. In an effort to make this time as comfortable as possible for the resident, the KDOC has several resources available to the resident population.

The pastoral care department and mental health counselors along with unit staff work together to help an resident in his/her time of need.

What is a functional incapacitation release?
Kansas law provides some residents, who are very ill, with the option to apply for a functional incapacitation release. Functional incapacitation is defined as a medical or mental health condition, including one rendering the resident terminally ill to the extent that death is imminent, resulting in the afflicted resident being incapable of causing physical harm.

Applications are submitted to the KDOC and subsequently referred to the Kansas Parole Board. The application cannot be approved unless the Parole Board determines that the resident is functionally incapacitated and does not pose a risk to public safety. 

Are there legal services available to an resident?
Residents also have access to a prison law library and legal materials through LexisNexis research which provides legal research materials.

Residents also may use a Form-9 or write a letter requesting services to obtain the assistance of Legal Services for Prisoners, Inc.

Legal Services for Prisoners, is a non-profit group that provides legal services to indigent residents in Kansas correctional facilities.  The program's goal is to ensure that residents' rights to the courts are met to pursue non-frivolous claims.  Funding for Legal Services for Prisoners is administered by the State Board of Indigents' Defense Services although the entity is not a state agency.

The program currently operates offices in El Dorado Correctional Facility, Lansing Correctional Facility, and Topeka  Correctional Facility. However, a resident may apply for services at any correctional facility. Legal Services for Prisoners. For more information, contact Legal Services for Prisoners at (785) 746-7437. 

What happens the day of release?
Each facility works with the resident to ensure the resident receives all remaining funds in his/her resident account. Transportation is established prior to the day of release and the resident is given civilian clothes to wear out of the facility. The resident will be given instructions on reporting to his/her parole officer upon release. The person picking up the resident must show their driver’s license to facility staff prior to leaving. 


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