The percentage of Kansas inmates who commit new crimes while on supervised release has dropped significantly over five years, says the Kansas City Star. The rate, a little more than 5 percent in 2002, fell to 2.2 percent last year. Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz attributed the reduction to increased legislative funding for programs that supervise inmates after they leave prison, and more dollars for alcohol and drug treatment. He said the number of inmates in Kansas prisons has decreased from 9,153 in 2004 to 8,854 in mid-2007. “There is sufficient (prison) capacity to meet our needs for the next 10 years,” Werholtz told the House Appropriations Committee.
He said that prediction assumed that the legislature would not pass new sentencing laws that would put more offenders in prison. Werholtz praised a new law providing grants to encourage community corrections programs to reduce revocation rates at least 20 percent. The law also reduced sentences by 60 days for offenders who complete job training and drug abuse programs in prison. Werholtz said two bills now being considered could increase the ranks of prisoners. One would require prison time for anyone convicted of multiple drunken-driving charges. The other would require a prison sentence for several felony crimes. The possibility of their passage prompted the Corrections Department to get approval to issue $39 million in bonds for future prison construction.