Archive for Sunday, January 29, 2012

Most sexual predators in Kansas never make it out of treatment, according to data

This wing of the Larned State Hospital houses participants involved in the Sexual Predator Treatment Program.

This wing of the Larned State Hospital houses participants involved in the Sexual Predator Treatment Program.

January 29, 2012


A Douglas County jury recently found that 42-year-old Kodi Thomas was a sexually violent predator and sent him into state custody for treatment.

Thomas, convicted of attempted rape and burglary in 1996, will join 216 other sex offenders at the Larned State Hospital in the Sexual Predator Treatment Program.

A look at the numbers shows Thomas likely will spend many years in treatment before he’ll be released into society, if he ever is.

More people have actually died from natural causes while in the program than have been released since the program’s inception in 1994, according to the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. Seventeen have died; three have been released.

“You don’t get out of here,” said Mark Brull, a convicted sex offender confined to the program on and off since 1999.

During that time, Kansas has spent roughly $700,000, or about $60,000 per year, treating Brull, who was convicted of aggravated sexual battery and indecent solicitation of a child in 1997.

“It’s a very expensive warehouse,” Brull said.

Enacted in 1994, the Sexual Predator Act allows an avenue for prosecutors to indefinitely hold convicted sex offenders, such as Brull and Thomas, past their prison sentences because they have been identified as a continuing threat to the community.

In Thomas’ case, a psychologist testified that Thomas made numerous statements about intentions to commit sexual assaults if he were released from prison.

The idea is to treat the offenders at Larned and then eventually send them back into the community once they no longer pose a risk.

But the program has effectively become a one-way street, with about 16 offenders per year being committed to the program since 2009 and few ever leaving.

Current growth projections estimate that the program, which is already over capacity, will grow to more than 370 residents by 2020, said Angela de Rocha, SRS spokeswoman.

In September, SRS, which operates the $13 million-a-year program, asked the Kansas Legislature for an additional $2 million for facility upgrades to accommodate the anticipated growth. Kansas is one of 20 states in the country to enact a sexually violent predator law, and the growth combined with few releases of offenders are “not unique to Kansas,” said W.L. Fitch, who teaches mental health law at the University of Maryland School of Law.

Once the law’s enacted, states are in a tough bind, Fitch said.

Either offenders keep piling up in sex offender treatment programs, or offenders are released and possibly re-offend.

“Politically, it’s a huge risk,” Fitch said. “You have some folks no one is going to take a chance on.”

Critics of involuntary commitment of sex offenders argue that such programs do the “dirty work of the criminal justice system” and are in fact designed to keep offenders locked away with little hope of treatment, Fitch said.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson, however, said he sees the program geared toward long-term treatment and rehabilitation.

And treating such offenders can take a significant amount of time, said Larned State Hospital Superintendent Christopher Burke, which leads to a cautious approach.

“By the nature of their designation, they tend to have more-entrenched behaviors,” Burke said.

Kansas’ treatment program consists of seven phases, starting with orientation at Larned and ending with a formal, court-approved release and transition back to society.

Before a potential release, offenders progress to closely supervised reintegration at Osawatomie State Hospital and then along to conditional release at a residential facility in Miami County, where there are currently seven offenders from the program, Burke said.

But instead of helping contain and treat sex offending behaviors, Brull said, the environment within the program has made him “100 times worse.”

“Any kind of carnal knowledge under the sun you’re exposed to here,” he said.

Brull said he’s currently in phase three of the program, but he’s given up on progressing.

“I’ll either die here or die in prison,” he said.

Google form

Residents in Sex Predator Treatment Program

Chart shows growth of the Kansas Sex Predator Treatment Program since 2006. The program is estimated to grow to 370 residents by 2020.

Google form

Cost of Sex Predator Treatment Program

Chart shows the cost, in millions, of the Kansas Sex Predator Treatment Program.


goodcountrypeople 6 years, 3 months ago

All the molesting creeps who approach strangers on the public streets of KS with the offensive and threatening come-on, "Need help?" should be thrown in prison and never allowed out of treatment. They do a lot of harm!

ivalueamerica 6 years, 3 months ago

I can only suggest that if you do not understand the difference between violating a young child and consensual relations between adults, I pray you are not a parent.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 3 months ago

So then, the most cost effective solution is to take them out behind the chemical sheds and shoot them?

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 3 months ago

“I’ll either die here or die in prison,” he said.

Hope you aren't looking for sympathy here.

Ken Lewis 6 years, 3 months ago

It already is. The sentence for rape often exceeds that of murder.

Ken Lewis 6 years, 3 months ago

And all the legislature can do is figure how to add more offenders to the list.

Ragingbear 6 years, 3 months ago

The title should read "Most sexual predators in Kansas don't make it past the wood chipper.".

Scum. Even lower than murderers.

matahari 6 years, 3 months ago

"More people have actually died" from natural causes while in the program than have been released since the program’s inception in 1994, according to the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. Seventeen have died; three have been released.

l gotta love those JW journalists way with words

Armstrong 6 years, 3 months ago

If I remember correctly .357 ammo is around $0.25/ each. How many times does that go into a $ 14 million budget ?

bad_dog 6 years, 3 months ago

its_just_math should be able to help you multiply 14 million x 4.

EGamer 6 years, 3 months ago

There is every reason on the part of the Legislature, the state and officials at the Larned facility to protect their power base as well as their own agendas. They created this mess with no plan on how to proceed to the future. The laws passed seldom take into account the long term costs to the community, families and friends of both victims and offenders. Those whose simple soluttion is to simply execute all of them would throw a blanket over all offenders and riteously say this is for the good of the community. Is it? What values are we teaching then? Do not misunderstand me there are offenders in the program I wouldn't want near the exit and in the darkest of dungeons if it were practical. But that was for the Department of Justice to decide not the Department of Social Servivces to decide; the criminal courts is where that decision should have been made a long time ago. Now we dangerously dance around the constituion and convict these offenders yet a second time to an indeterminate sentence. The legislature has passed harsher laws with longer sentences, with yet again no thought to the long term costs. The buck has been passed around enough. If these offenders are not being treated accourding to law (and they aren't) then something else must be done. We, the tax payer, are being asked to forfit the very futures of our childrens education along with our sick and elderly so that a 'court ordered offender' be placed into a program with no visible end in sight and ever rising costs. The lawmakers made this mess, someone with courage and coviction is going to have to step up, take the heat and make the right (I did say right) decision, and not some half baked solution to pass on to the next guy. There is a breaking point and it will happen.

edmclinn 6 years, 3 months ago

Sounds likea good thing for the community, but how did the DA get out? That guy has serious mental illness!

BigDog 6 years, 3 months ago

You might research what some of these people have done .... normally not just a simple act. I know people who oversaw these programs. Both said if you read the files of these people your skin will crawl. These aren't people who exposed themselves once or raped once .... they have done some gruesome things to people in committing their crimes or have done things multiple times.

Lesa Weller 6 years, 3 months ago

I, once again, have to say that we as citizens have to step up and be proactive where child molestation and rape are concerned. It's not enough, never will be enough to just put them in prison (costing us sooo much money!). I definitely don't advocate for death sentences, or for power-crazed people who want to shoot sex offenders. Do you know that there are women who actually do these crimes also? This is an illness we're talking about. Not something genetic, but something that has been passed down from generation to generation. One isn't born a sex offender, sex offenders are created by other offenders.

We must step up and teach our children, women and men how to avoid being victimized! I know that we are not responsible as victims for what has been done to us, especially when we are children. But let's defend our children with knowledge and the message that their abusers are liars and manipulating and that it isn't okay! We mustn't be a passive society. As long as we do not know how to effectively treat sex offenders, then we must learn to protect our most vulnerable from day one!

Lesa Weller 6 years, 3 months ago

And thank you, Shaun, for tackling this issue!

Shaun Hittle 6 years, 3 months ago

Your welcome. And always appreciate your comments.


KansasLaw 6 years, 3 months ago

This article only shows the tip of the iceberg reguarding the cost to the state to manage sex offenders..

I would like to add here that while SRS is asking only an add 2mil for anticipated this report does not touch on the subject of the monies requested by the dept. of corrections due to the passage of SB 37. Under the new set of laws adopted in 2011, the “registry" will be overloaded. With steep and often unwarranted extensions to the amount of time registered offenders are required to register, and the laws governing compliance... It’s easy to foresee a tremendous influx of previously convicted offenders who served out their probation or in some cases prison time, to find themselves unwittingly out of compliance for say, having to leave state in an emergency due to death or illness or accident to a family member. The law clearly reads if an offender should find themselves out of compliance:

(d) No plea bargaining agreement shall be entered into nor shall any judge approve a plea bargaining agreement entered into for the purpose of permitting a person charged with violation or aggravated violation of the Kansas offender registration act to avoid the severity level of the offense and the mandated penalties established by law

The issue of sex offenders is enormous and requires a very acute and sensitive understanding of all peoples and areas of life affected. Not just in the interest of a political bag of tricks to be used when the time for reelection is drawing close. While is sounds good to speak out and tell the public “It’s for you my public that I vote for …..” As the public’s fears and concerns are being ironically exploited to manipulate their vote. No one is stepping up to explain to the public how all these laws work and what the true cost of implementing them and enforcing them are on all branches of the legal system as well as social services and the private sector in many cases as they are affected… It sounds great on paper! Protect our kids! But no one is discussing the real efficacy of the laws and how the cost and efficacy are weighed against each other, and if there is a better way to achieve the goal at a cost much less in dollars and greater in sense… No one is telling the public that based on these new set of laws, that even them or their own may just one day be one this registry or another registry we devise as we allow the constitution to be eroded in the name of protecting society from the elusive boogeyman. No one is telling the public about the extreme problems inherent to the registered offender, of homelessness, joblessness, and families falling apart and creating a whole new group of social issues… This letter was by far to long to post here,so if you would like to read the rest please visit my blog called Kansas Law on wordpress...

KansasLaw 6 years, 3 months ago

here is some support info and links to review:

The following was found on

"The Justice Policy Institute has calculated the expected costs for each state, and that the costs far exceed the amount that would be forfeited for non-compliance. Here are the estimates for Kansas:

Implementation cost: $4,502,553

Federal funds lost for failure to implement: $203,600

(I'm sure there is a Mastcard Priceless line that could follow, but I'll spare you).

The federal funds lost, Byrne grant money, is used to enforce drug laws and support LEOs."

Here is the report for all states from the Justice Policy Inst.

Keep in mind these numbers reflect 2008.. and it was in 2011 that SB37 was passed and 15 yrs to life were added to hundreds and hundreds of registered offenders , as for the number of years they must register. So its easy to predict that these numbers are off by perhaps a few mill... not to mention allllll the collateral $$$$$$$$$$$$$

Mysterious1 6 years, 3 months ago

It's always nice to hear how ignorant people are. It's also nice to hear all of the terrioristic threats, Talking about bullets, guns and killing people is a criminal threat. Do you know these men, their history, their crimes or what they are accused of? Were you there? Are you a lawyer, law maker, a judge, a professor? Do you know how to read the law? THE ANSWER IS NO YOU WERE NOT THERE AND YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. Before you open your big ignorant mouth's you might want to do some research to find out who these men are!! Has any of the laws or all the tax dollars spent done anything to protect children? Has sex offenses dropped? THE ANSWER IS NO, in fact they are getting worse and growing in numbers. The more attention sex offenses are given the greater the problem becomes. It's a new fad. Society is full of hypocrits. We like devious so much that we make TV shows about sexual abuse of children, SVU. When society figures out how to manage their own affairs then it can instruct sex offenders on how to manage theirs. SOCIETY CREATED THIS PROBLEM AND I HOPE EVERYONE OF YOU ENJOYS PAYING FOR IT. On average it costs an entire years salary two in prison one offender, this doesn't include legal fees or medical costs. Rest assured some day there will be justice for what society has done....

OnTheEdge46 5 years, 11 months ago

You are so right, Mysterious1. I often get sickened by reading the comments made by self-righteous, law-abiding citizens. The talk of how cheap a bullet is compared to treatment of someone who did something they detest. How much better is a murderer than any other offender? Apparently it is more acceptable to look a person in the eye and execute them than find a way to stop the behavior HUMANELY! I have a friend who is on the sex offender registry for simply taking a shower with his four year-old daughter. His estranged wife saw an opportunity to get him out of their lives forever, and swore a statement that it was for more than convenience and safety's sake. That man spent 9 years of his life in prison and now the rest of his life unemployed, on state aid, and on a sex offender registry. Hmmm... sounds like he needs to be executed too, huh? I applaud those of you who take the time to read exactly what the person did before you make a judgment. I agree that some of these perverts need to be stopped even if the means is extreme, but murder is not the answer. I keep an eye on my kids and make my presence known if I suspect there are any creeps around that may be looking at my child with lust in his (or her) eye. Let's be smarter about taking responsibility and being PROactive instead of REactive and blaming things on genetics or upbringing. Everything we do in life is a CHOICE, and patterns can be changed.

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