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Prison Rebuild Plans Might Prompt New Kansas Death Penalty Debate

Kansas Department of Corrections

Proposals to rebuild part of the prison at Lansing could prompt a new debate over the Kansas death penalty. Plans for the prison include closing the facility that houses the state’s death chamber.

Kansas hasn’t executed anyone since the death penalty was reinstated in the 1990s. At a committee meeting Thursday, Republican Sen. Carolyn McGinn said instead of building a new death chamber, legislators might want to consider eliminating the death penalty.

“It costs us a lot of money and we don’t finish the job," McGinn said. "We’re housing them anyway, and they’re costing us more because they have to go down two paths. They have to go down a life in prison [path] and they have to go down a death penalty path."

Department of Corrections staff said the state could also build a new death chamber at the El Dorado prison, which houses the state’s 10 death row inmates.


Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @KPRKoranda.

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