Prison staff face low pay, long hours

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Now retired, Ruth Beck worked as a corrections officer at Ellsworth Correctional Facility until 2016.

Courtesy Photos by Nomin Ujiyediin/Kansas News Service

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Interim Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz came out of retirement to lead his former agency.

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Corrections officer Hunter Defenbaugh sometimes works overnight shifts lasting 16 hours.

‘I don’t want to be poor all my life’

Hunter Defenbaugh loves working in prison.

Five nights a week, the 19-year-old corrections officer works overnight shifts in the infirmary at El Dorado Correctional Facility 30 miles northeast of Wichita. He checks on sick inmates, gives them blankets, calls nurses for help.

Defenbaugh likes the job, he says, because he likes helping people. It beats his old gigs flipping burgers at McDonald’s or ringing up customers at Walmart.


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