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Archive for Thursday, July 9, 2009

Corrections official: Budget cuts have made communities less safe, prisons less effective

Budget crisis has taken toll on prison system, overall safety

July 9, 2009

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Budget cuts to the Kansas Department of Corrections have made the state less safe and have interfered with the rehabilitation of offenders, officials said Thursday.

“We’re not as safe as we were,” Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz told an oversight committee.

Werholtz and his staff outlined the impact of approximately $23.5 million in cuts approved by state elected officials in the face of shrinking revenues.

The cuts, which have reduced the agency’s budget by about 8 percent, have resulted in the loss of 300 positions and decimated a number of programs aimed at preventing inmates from re-offending once they leave prison.

Corrections eliminated 220 of 284 slots for substance abuse treatment and 100 of 180 slots for sex offender treatment.

A program designed to help released inmates who had severe mental health problems find transitional housing was eliminated along with the 30 staff members who ran the operation.

Several academic and vocational education programs were eliminated, and those staffs were reduced to part-time employees. Several correctional facilities have also been shut down.

“These are more than just numbers. This is going to have an impact on the safety of our communities,” state Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, said.

Werholtz agreed, but said the actions were taken to keep intact the basic operations of the system, which holds nearly 8,600 inmates.

In recent years, Kansas has been recognized nationally for intervention efforts to reduce the number of parolees who commit new crimes. But Werholtz predicted there will be no further improvement in that area this year.

“In a nutshell, a lot of resources that were available are no longer there for our parole staff or community corrections,” he said.

Comments

Charles L Bloss Jr 5 years, 5 months ago

Just one more reason to carry a firearm, they will be. Thank you, Lynn

igby 5 years, 5 months ago

Now that the state of the common good is overrun with criminals, thanks the Dems for this. We should let them own fire arms so they can start killing each other more effectively. However, a few law abiding citizens will have to die in the process, but this is the best cost effective way to eliminate the bad apples. Most of them are already headed back to jail anyway, so why not help them end their crappy life that they choose for themselves. The government has already failed in rehabilitated these criminals and enough tax money has been spent on them and it did not help them any. Their all out having kids at the tax payers expense and soon society will have to deal with another generation of well trained criminals and we will be in a worse situation. We should let them have all the drugs they can do and in a matter of a short time they will kill themselves and each other and the world will be a better place when their gone.

jackie 5 years, 5 months ago

Nothing more than scare tactics from the prison industrial complex.

poptop 5 years, 5 months ago

I wish it was that simple jackie. You have to be involved before you can make that judgement and it appears that you may not be. Being involved in corrections (prison) such as I it is a big deal loosing those programs. Inmates are now setting idle, nothing to occupy their time. This is what causes the criminal mind to think it the way it does. Now not only are other inmate in danger but the dedicated men and women who oversee their incarceration and make public safety their number 1 priority may be on the loosing end of this. Their welfare and safety has just decreased 50%. Do some investigating and you will find the number of batteries and assaults are going up each day. We only hope we go home to our families every night. Walk in our shoes 1 day and your opinion will change.

Orwell 5 years, 5 months ago

Who needs public safety, so long as the Koch Industries crowd doesn't have to bear a fair tax burden? While we're at it, let's shut down public health, water treatment, traffic control and all that stuff people ought to have to handle on their own.

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