Approval of the FY2015 Kansas Department of Corrections Comprehensive Plan
Several annual items came before the Butler County Commissioners on Tuesday morning for their weekly meeting, one of which was the approval of the FY2015 Kansas Department of Corrections Comprehensive Plan for the 13th District Community Corrections Agency.
“This is just an annual comprehensive plan that we submit to the Community Corrections Agency for review,” explained Director of Community Corrections Chuck McGuire. “In this plan, we report an average supervision of 195-205 adult inmates. It is further broken down by category. This year, we are reporting a rise in our numbers. We are contributing that to an increase of drug offenders coming to us. They are mostly felony possession cases, which automatically qualify them for jail sanctions. They’re mostly meth cases.”
He went on to explain last year around this time, he appeared before the commission and reported the number of felony meth drug cases sanctioned at the facility was down due to a passing of a recent law which made the ingredients needed to make meth harder to obtain. The past year has also welcomed Senate Bill 123, which would allow the jail to adopt 2-3 day sanctions to those with a felony drug charge and multiple possession offenses. This would enable the facility to help those with drug abuse problems and addictions.
“With these new sanctions, have we been able to see any kind of a savings?” asked Commissioner Dan Woydziak.
“We have been able to see a significant savings,” answered McGuire. “If they do anything short of committing a new offense, we are able to stick the offender in jail for a few days. It has only been implemented for a short time, but these immediate sanctions do have an effect. If an offender has a violation and has to then wait six weeks to go to court, they will have long since forgotten what they’ve done. It can sometimes be compared to how one would treat a young child. If the punishment is not immediately following the action, it will not have the desired effect.”
In typical cases, harsh actions are not taken when a minor violation is committed.
“If it’s what we consider to be a minor offense, they’re not going to go back to jail and serve a long period of time anyway,”said McGuire. “We can just put them in our facility for one night up to a period of 18 days for their entire probation. If they’re committing more violations than those allowed, they should be going back to court anyway.”
The comprehensive plan also includes a budget for the facility.
“Another part of the comprehensive plan is the operating budget, which is about $378,000 and that includes a 2.5 percent merit increase for the employees,” McGuire said. “There are funds the offenders pay for drug testing within the facility as well.”
The comprehensive plan also includes goals and objectives the facility would like to achieve for 2015.
“Our other goals and objectives we have included in this comprehensive plan are all evidence based practices,” explained McGuire. “One of the goals from the Kansas Department of Corrections is to achieve a discharge rate of 75 percent. In 2013, our discharge rate was 88 percent and for this fiscal year, the facility is already at 81 percent. We will meet our goal again. After this comprehensive plan is completed we are going to have someone from the Department of Corrections walk through our facility and give us some feedback as well. We want to know what we can improve on and what our strengths are.”
Commissioner Palmer moved to approve the plan and the motion was carried 4-0. Commissioner Jeff Masterson was absent.
The commission also:
• received and opened liquid asphalt bids for the Highway Department.
• received and opened sealed bids for crushing and screening asphalt millings to be used in Butler County’s highway maintenance program.
• approved authorization for professional engineering services related to the landfill permit application administrative revisions, annual on-call professional services and design and construction oversight for leachate recirculation system expansion for area 2B.
Kari Adams can be reached at email@example.com.