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Crime and Courts

Recent Changes Could Reduce Kansas Prison Population

Recent changes in the way convicted offenders are supervised after their release could help control Kansas' prison population.

Kansas Secretary of Corrections Ray Roberts said Wednesday that those release policy changes, which took effect July 1, could result in 100 fewer people going back to prison for technical violations in each of the next two years. He says savings would be reinvested in programs to treat substance abuse and mental health problems among prison inmates.

The changes keep convicted offenders in their communities and under watch of probation officers, who work with the courts to supervise their reintegration into the community.

Even for those on probation who commit technical parole violations, Roberts says, sending them to local jails for two- or three-day stints would be "10 times cheaper" than returning them to prison for months.

Other changes in policy reward eligible inmates for good behavior of for participating in rehabilitation programs.

Roberts said the total prison population has increased by nearly 900 inmates over the past decade.

As of Wednesday, Kansas' male prison population was 8,877, or 78 people over capacity. The female population was 761, or 34 below capacity.