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Head Of Kansas Sentencing Commission Fears Budget Cuts

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The head of the Kansas Sentencing Commission says he’s worried state budget cuts could hurt a program that helps some drug offenders avoid jail time.

The program lets some Kansas drug offenders go through treatment and supervision, which helps them avoid prison. The $6.5 million pays for treatment for more than 1600 offenders a year. Scott Schultz, with the Kansas Sentencing Commission, is concerned it could be targeted for budget cuts.

“I think we all know that there’s a storm brewing on the horizon,” Schultz says.

Schultz says the treatment is much cheaper than sending offenders to prison, and it helps prevent repeat offenses, so cutting the program back would ultimately cost the state more.

“The program is kind of a preemptive strike to keeping people out of prison. That’s one of the success that we’ve had with it,” Schultz says.

Tax collections have been coming in short of expectations in recent months, leading some lawmakers to believe the state will soon be considering budget cuts.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.