WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Police say an alarming number of parolees in Wichita are to blame for rising crime.
Over the weekend, officers say a parolee fatally stabbed a woman and critically injured her husband.
Deputy Chief Jose Salcido of the investigations division has been tracking parole numbers in Wichita. He said the city has become a hotspot for what’s known as correctional dumping.
Nearly 63% of all parolees from across the state end up in Wichita. That number has him asking why the city has to foot the bill for running what he calls an open prison.
“It’s really hard to look at a victim in the face, for me, to say, ‘ah’ I’m sorry, but this person, we didn’t know who he was. They were sent here.”
Salcido says between 40% to 50% of those paroled to the Wichita office through the Kansas Department of Corrections are not from Sedgwick County.
“What’s frustrating is they find that Wichita is ideal because we have all these resources.”
He added they would need roughly 60 additional staff members to handle the growing pressure.
In Wichita, the current number of parolees is just under 1,200, compared to Kansas City, Kansas, with 91 and Topeka with 33.
The pipeline is causing a strain on the Sedgwick County Jail.
“Unless it’s a serious crime, they’re not going to be held over there.”
Officer Nate Schwiethale says 25% of police resources goes toward homeless parolees. He says the parolee pipeline into the city is counterproductive to giving offenders a fresh start.
“They don’t have a support system here. They don’t know the resources because it’s a new city.”
Salcido now asking for a different way to redistribute entry points throughout the metro.
“At one point, the state had enough money to have a re-entry officer partner with us, now the re-entry plan is drop ’em off, and hey, hopefully, you can make it.”
KSN News reached out to the Kansas Department of Corrections for comment, but they hadn’t responded as of Monday night.