Overcrowding issues to continue at state correctional facilities

Kansas
Kansas Department of Corrections

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – The State Finance Council voted today to deny funding for space and programming for overcrowded female prisoners and full funding for outsourcing male beds throughout the Kansas prison system.

The Kansas Department of Corrections requested a total of $30 million of which the State Finance Council approved $4.5 million for Hepatitis C treatment, $9.1 million for correctional officer pay increases and $11 million for contract beds. The council approved only $4.38 million of the $11 million requested for outsourcing beds and denied funding to address Topeka Correctional Facility overcrowding.

“The decision to reduce funding for outsourcing beds forces officers at El Dorado Correctional Facility to continue working 16-hour shifts,” said Acting Corrections Secretary Charles Simmons. “Failure to fully address overcrowding issues unnecessarily increases danger to staff, offenders and the public.”

The council voted to deny $3 million erroneously appropriated by the state legislature for renovations to a building on the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex campus in Topeka. Funding was actually requested by the KDOC for staff to supervise 120 adult female inmates and provide substance abuse treatment.

 The action to deny funding for this project leaves the KDOC without its primary option to address overcrowding among female inmates. Currently, the state’s only correctional facility for women has a capacity for 903 inmates though the facility has a population of 930. Population projections from the Kansas Sentencing Commission estimate the population to burgeon to 1,018 in Fiscal Year 2020.

“The council agreed we need to raise the pay for our correctional staff and increased funding for Hepatitis C treatment for inmates, but we are disappointed in the decision that will continue overcrowding for both male and female offenders,” Simmons said.

 “This was the council’s opportunity to take a significant first step toward addressing the state’s inmate population problem,” he said. “I am concerned that these decisions will result in the state passing its prison overcrowding problems onto county jails.”

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