Tag Archives: Kansas

Kansas prison system at capacity, and more growth is expected

From the article: “If the state wants to avoid spending millions of dollars on more prison bed space, said Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts, it has to continue to look at innovative programs and policies that can cut recidivism rates.”

Read more here.

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KS: Even with some funds restored, Kansas correction officials worry about crime going up

From the article: “[T]he department still is losing millions, and state officials still worry that crime rates could go up as the dollars go down.”

Sometimes cutting the corrections department’s budget results in reduction in unnecessary and frivolous spending often found in big bureaucracies…and sometimes it’s a short-term solution with long-term greater costs to the community.

Read more on KS’ corrections budget here.

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KS: Brownback starts merger of Juvenile Justice Authority, Kansas Department of Corrections

From the article: “Gov. Sam Brownback announced Monday that he intends to merge Kansas’ juvenile justice agency with the adult Department of Corrections system, arguing that two critical legislative audits show the need to abandon ‘a failed social services approach” to handling young offenders.'”

So…this seems like a really bad idea.  Juvenile offenders do not need a corrections-based approach – they need intensive programming.  Juveniles are more apt to lower impulse control and lesser ability to evaluate consequences.  In the world of prisons, this tends to mean that juveniles are more likely to engage in assaultive behavior; exactly the type of behavior that will get them locked down in segregation and increase their likelihood to recidivate.

In Ohio, the juvenile justice system is separate from the adult system.  It has been far from perfect – in fact, it is just now coming out from under a several years long consent decree involving strict monitoring by a federal court.  However, the system that we have now is far better than the system that we would otherwise have under a disciplinary model.  Every youth receives close supervision from “youth specialists” (the title changed from “corrections officer” to better show the paradigm shift) and is required to be engaged in meaningful programs, such as cognitive-based therapy, for a large chunk of the day.  This is in direct contrast to our adult system, in which there is a high inmate-to-officer ratio in most prisons and a high level of inmate idleness.

The answer is not to give up on youth by placing them in a more restrictive environment, which is what seems likely here.  It is a short-sighted move with longterm negative effects.

Read more of the article on Kansas here.
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3 Kan. inmates tried to hang selves

From the article: “Officials at a Kansas prison say three inmates in a segregation unit tried to hang themselves simultaneously.”

Read more here.
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KS: Feds remove female prisoners from state prison

From the article: “The action comes after the U.S. Department of Justice released a report in September concluding there was widespread sexual abuse of inmates at the Topeka prison. Since 2001, TCF has been the only state prison for women in Kansas. It houses an average of more than 500 women, ranging from work-release to maximum-security inmates.”

Prison officials state that they have had a contract for a number of years to house federal female inmates.

Read more here.
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States Report Reductions in Recidivism

Report from the Council of State Governments that highlights Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, and Oregon for their reductions in recidivism rates.  Ohio has one of the most notable, with an 11 point drop.  Given Ohio’s sentencing reform in 2011 (HB 86), recidivism is expected to drop even lower, as inmates are funneled toward evidence-based programming based on their risk level and criminogenic needs.

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Kan. jails struggle to meet needs of mentally ill

As with jails across the nation, Kansas’ jails are crowded with persons who would likely be better served at a facility dedicated to mental health treatment rather than incarceration.  According to the article, mentally ill inmates stay longer than the average non-mentally ill inmate and therefore cost more to the county.

Read the article here.

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Abuse of inmates is ‘rampant’ at Kansas women’s prison, federal report says

From the article: “Sexual misconduct and abuse of inmates at Kansas’ prison for women is “rampant throughout the facility” and persisted even as federal officials investigated problems there, according to a U.S. Justice Department report released Thursday.”

The article states that there was an officer who plead guilty to unlawful sexual relations and the penalty he received was (wait for it) placement on probation.  The article also states that earlier investigative reporting alleged that up to one third of the staff had been involved with an “illegal black market that included exchanging drugs for sex with female inmates.”

Read the article here.

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