Wichita police say they get more parolees than other parts of the state Per capita and it can be a strain on resources.
“Wichita is becoming the destination for parolees in the state,” said Wichita police Captain Chet Pinkston. “It’s not something that happened overnight, it’s just slowly built.”
Pinkston points out some parolees succeed but others do not. And, he says, the ones that do not can be costly to local taxpayers as well as cops and the courts.
Recently Wichita police arrested a parolee from the Kansas City area on suspicion of arson at a restaurant. Captain Pinkston says the courts are involved, investigators are working the case and the jail is holding the suspect.
“He was from another county,” said Captain Pinkston. “So there’s an awful lot of resources that go into investigating a crime like that.”
Pinkston estimates roughly 40-percent of the parolees in the Wichita area are from other counties in Kansas. He also says the police department is in talks with the Kansas Department of Corrections to try and change the numbers.
But Pinkston also says it is a compliment to volunteer groups and service providers that Wichita has become a destination for parolees.
“You don’t just want to parole them somewhere and leave them to struggle,” said Pinkston. “You want them to correct behaviors and be productive members of society. “
One of the groups helping parolees in the Wichita area is Working Men of Christ.
On Wednesday Zachery was out as a volunteer with Working Men of Christ. The efforts Wednesday were to help move a small business to a new space.
“We have some guys who have done over 25 years (in prison) and so it take a little more work for them to come out of the mentality for their thinking to change,” said Zachery Tague.
Zachery was a parolee himself a long time ago and he was paroled back to where his family lives. Now he is passionate about Working Men of Christ and its mission to help parolees get back to a positive and productive life.
“So it’s a ministry and we are helping people,” said Zachery. “We do a relocation program. Some individuals, their environment is not the best place for them. Or some inmates, their family may not want them. So there is success in relocating them to give them a new direction so they are not always looking back. “
Zachery says they begin each day with prayer. And that thread continues throughout the day as they volunteer.
Captain Pinkston, meanwhile, says Wichita continues to do well in many areas helping parolees. But he says the police department will continue its talks with the Department of Corrections in Kansas to see if there are other areas where parolees can go and still succeed.
“We have mentioned this to them and the talks with them are ongoing but positive,” said Pinkston. “Explaining to them that simply paroling everyone to Wichita, in the numbers that we are, is simply going to lead to failure. And I do believe, the DOC, they want parolees to be successful. I don’t think our human compassion wants us to set them up for failure. “
KSN did reach out several times to the Kansas Department of Corrections, but a spokesperson was not available for comment on Wednesday.