Advertisement

Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Prison plan draws critics

Private institutions, higher penalties called ‘vicious twist’

March 26, 2006

Advertisement

— Kansas lawmakers wanting to increase punishments for sex offenders will have to vote for a bill that also authorizes the state to allow private prisons.

"It makes the sex offender bill a complete package," Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, said.

"If legislators want to incarcerate more sex offenders, this gives them a place to incarcerate them," said Schmidt, who for years has pushed for construction of a private prison in his district.

The two measures - increasing prison time for sex offenders, and authorizing private prisons - have been put together in one bill that is now in a House-Senate conference committee.

But some other legislators didn't appreciate Schmidt's efforts to tie the two issues together.

Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, called the legislation a "vicious twist."

He added, "Since we cannot bed all of the inmates this bill will create, let's contract out to private prisons."

Sen. Donald Betts, D-Wichita, criticized the combined bills because he said he wants to lengthen prison time for sex offenders, but opposes private prisons.

"There are numerous examples of private prison corporations cutting corners in order to maximize their earnings, primarily through cutting back on staff pay, training and inmate programming," he said.

Schmidt defended the private prison industry as having corrected early mistakes.

"In the early days, there were problems in the industry. It was unregulated and growing fast," he said. "But that was a quarter century ago. We have the experience of 30 plus years, so we know what works and doesn't work."

Comments

lunacydetector 8 years, 9 months ago

I think what we have here,..... is a failure to communicate.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

Consider that housing prisoners can cost taxpayers approximately $150k per year for males and around $300k for females it might do well to evaluate this idea. Private prisions will hit taxpayers hard in the pocketbooks. Private corporations over charge taxpayers with some degree of consistentency.

About 50% of prisoners could be non violent. Before spending big bucks on more prisons let's clear out the non violent offenders. It might cost less money to release this segment of the prison population with a one year guranteed training at a VO-Tech plus 6 months rent. Get them on their way with skilled training and a roof over their head. This is treatment and will not cost the $50k-100k to have them remain locked up for another year. The state would make payment to respective schools and a property manager.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 9 months ago

I think we need prison vouchers. Each convict could be given $100k to choose the prison that best fits his/her needs, whether that be a private or public prison.

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

Confine them in medicaid eligible nursing homes. That's only about $40,000 per year, mix em right in with the Alzheimers and dementia patients. The criminals will rue the day they ever committed a crime.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

Godot seems to be on to something....a never to return plan.

Say no to private private prisons:

davis@house.state.ks.usp>davis@house.state.ks.us>

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

Make the prisoners pay for their own incarceration, draining all their and their spouse's private funds. Let the spouse keep their house, if they have one, until the spouse dies; then force a sale of the house to reimburse the state.

This approach might actually act as a deterrent for non-violent crime.

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

If the above suggestion sounds Draconian, consider that that is exactly what happens to people who have to go on Medicaid for nursing home care.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 9 months ago

I take that you are proposing to expand a socialist entitlement program, Godot.

Jamesaust 8 years, 9 months ago

"... said Schmidt, who for years has pushed for construction of a private prison IN HIS DISTRICT."

I believe this falls just short of graft but its close.

Most sex offenders are not particularly dangerous as long as they are kept isolated. Why does not the State locate a 'prison camp' is some distant (probably Western) part of the state - no, not Independence - down some dirt road, inaccessible, and away from almost any other human being? I believe FEMA has some surplus trailers they'd be glad to get rid of for a song. Most of us would consider living in a trailer near Tribune or Ulysses or St. Francis through the heat of summer and the cold of winter a considerable punishment, and these sex offenders would be effectively separated from any potential victims.

Most sex offenders don't need a maximum security setup - frankly, barely even a minimum security facility. We really only need to separate the wolves from the sheep.

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

"I take that you are proposing to expand a socialist entitlement program, Godot." - Bozo

Nope. I propose that criminals and their families be expected to pay for their room and board in the same manner as are people whose only crime is to become infirm.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 9 months ago

While I'd be all for a national healthcare system that made sure everyone has at least minimal care at the end of their lives, your comparison is apples and oranges. No one is forced by the government to go into a nursing home, but the government will pay for it if certain conditions are met.

Your proposal for punishing the families of incarcerated criminals is very old-testament biblical in nature, and it would be very counterproductive. Poverty is the single largest reason for crime, and this proposal would just make sure that the kids of criminals stay in the "family business."

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

Tell that to David Wittig's family.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 9 months ago

Wittig's wife and kids will not be in the poor house.

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

Really? Then they should be able to afford for Papa Wittig's room and board while he is in prison. Why should my family pay for his stay behind bars?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 9 months ago

Confiscate any ill-gotten gains, make him pay fines and court costs, but beyond that, it doesn't make sense to punish the families of criminals for crimes they didn't commit, for reasons outlined above.

Frank Smith 8 years, 9 months ago

Any expert on the subject agrees that private prisons are dangerous, don't save taxpayers money, but cost them more than if these cons were in public prisons, and they pay abysmal wages. "Close to graft?," regarding Schmidt. Not close at all. GEO Group contributions:

Recipient Office Status Party State Amount Date SCHMIDT, DEREK SENATE Won REPUBLICAN KS $1,000 06/29/2004 MAYS, DOUG HOUSE Won REPUBLICAN KS $500 04/23/2004 JACKSON, DAVE SENATE Lost - General Election REPUBLICAN KS $500 09/20/2004 PINE, ROGER C SENATE Won REPUBLICAN KS $250 07/24/2004 BRUCE, TERRY SENATE Won REPUBLICAN KS $250 07/23/2004 RASURE, DAN SENATE Lost - Primary Election REPUBLICAN KS $250 07/29/2004 NEIGHBOR, CINDY HOUSE Lost - Primary Election REPUBLICAN KS $250 07/19/2004 AURAND, CLAY HOUSE Won REPUBLICAN KS $200 10/30/2004 UMBARGER, DWAYNE SENATE Won REPUBLICAN KS $200 11/08/2004 NEUFELD, MELVIN J HOUSE Won REPUBLICAN KS $200 10/23/2004 CARTER, ERIC HOUSE Won REPUBLICAN KS $200 10/19/2004 JORDAN, NICK SENATE Won REPUBLICAN KS $150 10/19/2004 SCHODORF, JEAN KURTIS SENATE Won REPUBLICAN KS $150 10/26/2004 BRUCE, TERRY SENATE Won REPUBLICAN KS $150 10/27/2004 PINE, ROGER C SENATE Won REPUBLICAN KS $150 10/25/2004 BURROUGHS, TOM HOUSE Won DEMOCRAT KS $100 10/19/2004 BRUNK, STEVEN R HOUSE Won REPUBLICAN KS $100 10/22/2004 LONG-MAST, PEGGY HOUSE Won REPUBLICAN KS $100 11/01/2004 APPLE, PAT SENATE Won REPUBLICAN KS $100 10/26/2004 SCHMIDT, VICKI SENATE Won REPUBLICAN KS $100 10/23/2004 HILL, DON A HOUSE Won REPUBLICAN KS $100 10/19/2004

Senator Terry Bruce is on a conference committee that is trying to include the for-profit prison scam artists in a sex offender bill.

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

Are those all of the contributions made by that group since 2004?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.