By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
CKCC rising to meet challenges
Agency facing impact of probation law changes
20th judicial district court services office web
The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved Central Kansas Community Corrections comprehensive plan for the coming year. - photo by Tribune file photo

In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Approved purchasing a used shipping container to help the Treasurer’s Office with long-term storage. The Treasurer’s Office currently rents a storage unit to archive documents and to hold surplus equipment, said Operations Director Phil Hathcock. 

In conversations with Treasurer-elect James Jordan, Hathcock said he expressed an interest in having more space for this storage. This led to the search.

Cost estimates were obtained to purchase a 40-by-8-by-8-foot shipping container to replace the rental of the storage unit. Pricing was obtained from Stone Waste of Great Bend and Chuck Henry Sales of Solomon. 

The lowest cost was provided by Chuck Henry Sales for a used container at a cost of $2,332.50 including delivery. 

The container will be placed at the Landfill. 

The cost of the current storage unit is between $60-80 per month. 

• Approved an addendum to site lease agreement for Nex-Tech Wireless. In July 2016, Barton County entered into a lease agreement with Nex-Tech. Under the original agreement, Nex-Tech is allowed to install antennas, grid dishes, remote radio units and other related equipment on a tower owned by Barton County near Susank. 

This proposed addendum extends the term to 10 years, with options for renewal, and addresses non-functionality due to a catastrophic event or maintenance issues with Nex-Tech installing a temporary tower in the event of an emergency, said 911 Director Dena Popp.

 After hearing an update on the Fiscal Year 2017 outcomes for Central Kansas Community Corrections Monday morning, the County Commission approved the 20th Judicial District agency’s comprehensive plan which provides funding for CKCC.

Unfortunately, 2017 did not go as well as CKCC had hoped.

“It was kind of a rough year,” CKCC Director Amy Boxberger said. “We were a few people short of meeting our goal.”

The Kansas Community Corrections Act provides grants to Kansas counties to maintain community corrections agencies, like CKCC. A Comprehensive Plan is basically a grant application for CKCC funds from the Kansas Department of Corrections. 

As a part of this, the fiscal year-end outcomes require the approval of the Barton County Commission, as the administrative county for the 20th Judicial District. The target: Fewer than 25 percent of the offenders served by CKCC having their probation revoked, thus entering the Kansas prison system.

The total for FY17, which ended on June 30, was 158 closed cases, of which 116, 73.4 percent, were closed without the parolee entering prison. That means 42 offenders, 26.6 percent, were revoked.

By comparison, in FY16, CKCC closed 135 cases and had a 23 percent revocation rate. 

“Everyone is doing their best,” Boxberger said. “We’ll keep striving for public safety through offender success.”

But, there are challenges, she said. The court continues to order offenders to the 60- to 180-day prison sanctions without exhausting other graduated sanctions. 

She was referring to the impacts from the 2013 Justice Reinvestment Act. That legislation allowed offenders to spend “short dips” in prison for probation violations instead of having their probation revoked.

The idea was to help reduce the state’s burgeoning prison populations. But, she fears even these short incarcerations hurt efforts to reintegrate the person back into society by removing the stigma of going to prison. 

After these short stays behind bars, the offenders return to community corrections, Boxberger said. But, the revocation rate is higher.

This puts more pressure on the state’s 31 community corrections agencies, she said. Now the goal is to intervene to the point the offender doesn’t get hit with a prison sanction.

However, the change might not be all bad, she said.

“This does make us evaluate what’s going well and what’s not,” Boxberger said. “We can’t get complacent.” 

The agency is now in its 2018 fiscal year. If this shortfall comes back to haunt CKCC, it would be in the 2019 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2018.