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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Proposed cuts to corrections system could endanger Kansans, secretary says

May 24, 2013

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— The head of the state prison system said Friday that proposed budget cuts being considered by the Legislature could jeopardize the safety of Kansans.

In a memo distributed to legislators, Kansas Secretary of Corrections Ray Roberts says the cuts would force the closing of a prison in northwest Kansas and leave without supervision some low- and medium-risk offenders, including sex offenders, who are on parole.

There also could be cuts in programs for mental illness and substance abuse, he said.

"The end result is that we will be spending far more than we save with the potential for increased victimization of Kansans due to an increased rate of untreated, unsupervised offenders in our communities," Roberts said.

Republican House and Senate budget negotiators agreed earlier this week to a proposed state budget that would cut $12.5 million from public safety operations in the fiscal year that starts July 1, Roberts said.

But the budget bill has not been debated by either the full House and Senate, after legislators got bogged down on tax negotiations.

Roberts said if the cuts took effect, the agency would have to shut down the Stockton Correctional Facility, a minimum security prison that has a capacity of approximately 130 inmates.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, criticized the proposed budget cut to corrections, in light of Republican proposals to add funds to hire permanent staff and promote golf tournaments.

"This is money we are just throwing away, and we are doing this at the same time that we are going to leave sex offenders unsupervised," he said.

Comments

Alceste 1 year, 2 months ago

Good one, lawrencecloser: It WOULD be interesting to know just how many "dope" inmates exist in the KDOC: What % are reefer vs. what % are meth or coke, etc.

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progressive_thinker 1 year, 2 months ago

According to the KDOC web site, 18% of the total inmate population are incarcerated for drug offenses. The numbers are not broken down by drug type, but if you look at the sentencing grid at the Kansas Sentencing Commission web site, you will find that first time possession of 25 grams of marijuana or even a second offense of possession are still "presumptive probation." Same goes for possession of 3.5 grams or less of cocaine.

Even first time possession with intent to distribute less than 25 grams of marijuana [about an ounce] is a "boarder box" which means that the court can grant probation. Same goes for 3.5 grams of cocaine or less.

When someone makes it into the system for possession of marijuana, it is virtually always when the offender has a lengthy criminal history, or when they are in possession of large amounts and intent to distribute is shown.

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Frank Smith 1 year, 1 month ago

There are a lot of parolees who get busted for dirty U.A.s. That could mean going back to jail for smoking a joint two weeks earlier.

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Jeremiah Jefferson 1 year, 2 months ago

Its proposed budget cuts like this that cost 4 innocent people their lives in Franklin County a few weeks ago. If the state continues to let morons like Kyle Flack go after less than 4 years served for 1st degree attempted murder with a firearm, I will be purchasing a pistol very soon. I can see that having the funds and facilities to house societies undesirables is a huge undertaking. But put the stinking inmates to work chain gang style. Why should they sit there and collect dust. If you go down to the south east part of the country, they still work the inmates. I would have them doing road work, hauling trash and so on. I can think of all kinds of things they should or could be doing other than watching cable TV for 23 hours a day. I'm not real keen on the idea of legalizing drugs, but decriminalizing simple possession or small amounts of weed would help. For other more serious drug related crimes, get people treatment rather than incarceration. There is no reason a person who sold a couple pounds of weed should be doing more time than a person like Kyle Flack. Moral of the story is the state needs to do a better job of putting away violent criminals and rehabilitating those that have a chance of making a positive contribution to society

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Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

What budget were responsible for those four deaths? He got a light sentence that allowed him to be free to kill. How is this related to budget cuts?

Lenient judges. Lousy prosecutors. But budget cuts?

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Jeremiah Jefferson 1 year, 2 months ago

Budget cuts mean less staff, less guards, less prisons and less jails which means they will be letting morons out sooner than they should be. Its bad enough that the state can't seem to figure out which offenders to keep and which ones to release. I won't argue what your saying either though. Its all related. The prison system is big business. Unfortunately its the normal people who do right in society that will be affected by higher crime rates. Its one big s%!t sandwich and were all gona have to take a bite.

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Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

I understand that but that wasn't the case in the killing of four in Ottawa as you claim.

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Stuart Sweeney 1 year, 2 months ago

Oops, time to fire the corrections commissioner because he said something we (Brownback followers) don't like and we didn't want the dumb yokels who elected us to know!

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question4u 1 year, 2 months ago

Well yes, the third world generally isn't the safest place to be.

It's also not a great place for education; its inhabitants aren't the healthiest; and its infrastructure isn't well maintained. Its laws are made to benefit those who hold power and to prevent opposition from anyone else. Its workers generally don't have many protections, and prosperity is reserved for the privileged few.

If you decide to model your state on a banana republic, you shouldn't be surprised when you get one.

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Jeremiah Jefferson 1 year, 2 months ago

Yeah, send them to Afghanistan and Iraq. They like Americans there.

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leftylucky 1 year, 2 months ago

What did the governors road map have for corrections? Were the churches supposed to step up and help save the prisoners and get state incentives?

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chootspa 1 year, 2 months ago

No doubt he'll just privatize it. That's the magic answer to every problem. That and praying. So maybe he'll pay churches to pray for privatization?

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Alceste 1 year, 2 months ago

Prions are enroute to being privatized in Kansas. Watch, wait, and see. It's coming.....

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Frank Smith 1 year, 1 month ago

Kansas is fortunate in that there has been a state law that has forbidden the construction of new for-profit prisons since the '90s. Derek Schmidt tried unsuccessfully for years to get that law repealed.

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Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 2 months ago

I will never approve of budget cuts in vital services. Keeping dangerous people locked up is as vital as it gets. This is a bad idea.

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irvan moore 1 year, 2 months ago

maybe not putting non violent first offenders in prison would solve part of the problem

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Justice3Radar 1 year, 1 month ago

It is high time that the citizens of Kansas & the Legislators grow a backbone to the broken record pitch of Secretary of Corrections Ray Robert- Every year about this time, he spends his wheels threatening the Legislature about the "Safety threats on the Community" Never once mentions any of the abuse of power operating so freely in several of his prisons in the state- Just once I would love to hear Ray Roberts explain the oppressive rules designed to bring out the rage too often in these men. By the time the public views the damage, we are snowballed into believing the worst of the inmates, and not the conditioning that has taken place in a mental torture units of segregation- Once again, Dr Ray, is counting on a Legislature that fails to audit the innerworkings of the prisons, the disciplinary procedures, cultural trainings, the consistency of policies and procedures from one facility to the next- By all means every visitor into the facilities should be surveyed for an examined cost saving improvement- It's never been done, so what negative inferences can be made, certainly the combined experiences of these families could provide deep insight into the corruption operating within this professional setting that invokes public fear tactics of closings and cutbacks at the mere thought of budget cuts- Until we demand transparency, sound policy decisions, educational equity that promotes wellness and rehabilitaton on public display in the Kansas Department of Corrections "We the People" need to scrutinize all efforts by the heads in charge, before we yield to any more Safety Threats" tied to funding.

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William Weissbeck 1 year, 1 month ago

And the race continues for the ever shrinking pie. This is what we will come to both at the state and federal - departments will use scare tactics to argue that their needs are greater. History has generally shown that when the poor riot in the streets, societies hire more police.

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