Topeka Anticipating even more severe budget cuts by the Legislature, the Kansas Supreme Court today announced further curtailment of court services including a plan to place non-judicial personnel on partial furlough if new reductions materialize.
Deep cuts imposed on the court system in recent years have created severe problems, the justices said, and they will get worse under expected new cuts that legislators say are dictated by the state's poor financial condition.
Under contingency plans being developed, the justices said, granting probation to those convicted of crimes could be reduced or eliminated because there might not be enough probation officers to supervise them.
``It is a statewide crisis,'' Chief Justice Richard W. Holmes told a news conference at the Kansas Judicial Center.
Mike Malone, Douglas County administrative district judge, said he planned to meet Monday with the district's three other judges and the court department supervisors about the order. Malone declined to comment about the order until after that meeting.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee has reduced the court system budget by 3 percent from the recommendations of Gov. Joan Finney, who had cut by 5.3 percent the ``bare bones'' budget proposed by the Judicial Department for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
To meet what the justices term a crisis, the court instructed administrative judges in the state's 31 judicial districts to take five steps to reduce expenditures.
Prepare plans for permanent reductions in non-judicial personnel and a priority system for implementing those layoffs.
Prepare a furlough plan for all non-judicial personnel, with an anticipated maximum two days a month layoff, costing those involved an 8.3 percent reduction in their pay.
Take immediate steps to eliminate all services now provided to attorneys and the public that are not required by law or absolutely essential to operation of the court system.
Review duties of court services personnel to eliminate those not considered essential.
Require administrative judges in Crawford, Labette, Montgomery, Cowley and Neosho counties, all of which have two county courthouses, to submit plans to ``eliminate or severely curtail the dual system of courts in those counties.''