Kansas legislative negotiators agreed to a $39.5 million prison expansion program, the Associated Press reports. Lawmakers authorized the bonds for it last month; four projects wold provide 668 new beds, including a 240-bed drug-and-alcohol treatment center. Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz also saw the treatment center as an opportunity to help rebuild programs decimated when the state experienced budget problems in 2002 and 2003. Up to 80 percent of the state's inmates have a substance abuse problem.
“These are people who are druggies, and they simply go in, come out, test dirty three times, get sent back in, don't get cleaned up, come back out, test dirty,” said Rep. Pat Colloton. “There are certain people who just have to go away for a while if they're going to be cured.” Some House members wanted to back away from the expansion program, noting that the state's prison population declined slightly in the last half of 2006. House members settled on $21.9 million in bonds – $17.6 million less than previously approved.