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Kansas Governor Signs Bipartisan Legislation May 30, 2007

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

On May 22, 2007, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, joined by Senator John Vratil, Representative Mike O’Neal, Representative Pat Colloton, and Senator Greta Goodwin, held a bill signing ceremony for Senate Bill 14, “An Act Concerning the Department of Corrections.”

The bill creates a performance-based grant program for community corrections programs to design local strategies to reduce parole and probation revocations and establishes a 60-day earned program credit for participants who successfully complete educational, vocational, and treatment programs while incarcerated. To implement SB14, the legislature appropriated $4.4 million for the community corrections grant program. Governor Sebelius also included $2.4 million in the state’s budget to fund the expansion of programs for people in prison and on parole supervision, including behavioral health care programs.

“Kansas is dedicated to smart and tough criminal justice policy,” said Governor Sebelius. “By holding individuals who committed less-serious crimes accountable for completing treatment and vocational programs, we will ensure we have space in our prisons to keep violent offenders behind bars.”

According to an analysis completed by the Kansas Department of Corrections, most people are released from prison without completing programs that would reduce their risk to public safety. Seventy-two percent of people in need of vocational education and 52 percent of people in need of substance abuse treatment did not participate in relevant programs prior to their release.

The new initiatives that the law establishes resulted in part from a bipartisan Joint Task Force on Comprehensive Corrections established by House Speaker Melvin Neufeld and Senate President Stephen Morris. Task Force members worked closely with state officials and national experts from the Council of State Governments Justice Center in pursuing a justice reinvestment strategy to help manage the growth of the prison population, save the state money, and increase public safety.

According to a 2006 report by the Kansas Sentencing Commission, the prison population was projected to increase by 26 percent over the next decade. By implementing SB14, the state is expected to avert adding 1,292 beds and save $80.2 million over the next five years, although the actual savings will depend on when the state decides to build additional correctional facilities.

To learn more about the justice reinvestment strategy and the technical assistance that the Council of State Governments Justice Center is providing to Kansas and other states, please visit http://www.justicereinvestment.org or contact Crystal Garland.



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