Kansas corrections secretary Roger Werholtz says that budget cuts have endangered the public and further cuts could force the early release of inmates, reports the Lawrence Journal-World. The state inmate population of 8,020 is 103 beds below capacity. Budget cuts have forced a shutdown of much drug and alcohol treatment, sex offender treatment, education, and transitional housing programs, in addition to several facilities.
Over the past few years, those programs have helped Kansas reduce the number of reoffenders as well as parole and probation revocations. “I project that all those performance figures will be worse,” Werholtz said. Without these programs, many released inmates will end up homeless and commit new offenses, he said. Corrections has sustained cuts of $23.5 million, or about 8 percent of its budget, during the current budget crisis. Prison staffing is already at dangerously low levels at times, Werholtz said. He said lawmakers would face the politically dangerous possibility of having to release inmates early from prison or parole supervision.