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Archive for Wednesday, January 19, 2005

State prison population falls

January 19, 2005

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— Kansas criminal justice officials today said the state prison system population is actually decreasing for the first time in years.

"That's a good problem to have," Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz said to a legislative committee.

Last week, the state prison population was 8,944, the lowest level since December 2002.

One of the reasons for the decrease is because of a recent law that went into effect that emphasized treatment for substance abuse instead of incarceration, officials said.

The state prison system has a capacity of about 9,200 inmates.

But Werholtz said that within that capacity, the state is nearing its space limit for medium security inmates.

Under Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' budget proposal, the state would build a $3.5 million,100-bed housing unit at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility. That would free up some beds for medium security inmates.

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