The theme for 20th Judicial District Central Kansas Community Corrections is a simple one, CKCC Director Amy Boxberger told the Barton County Commission Monday morning.
“The vision of our agency is public safety through offender success,” she said. In other words, by working with offenders, her staff strives to better reintegrate them back into society.
“We’re having to work with people who have made mistakes in their lives,” she said. “We want to change that decision making process.”
To this end, commissioners approved the CKCC’s fiscal year 2017 comprehensive plan. The Kansas Department of Corrections requires submission of a comprehensive plan (which amounts to a grant application) each year, Boxberger said.
These applications require the review and approval of the administrative county in each judicial district. In this case, that is Barton County as the administrative county for the 20th Judicial District.
The district encompasses Barton, Ellsworth, Rice, Russell and Stafford counties.
The 2016 budget totals $499,697. This pays for CKCC’s efforts to supervise offenders sentenced to community corrections who otherwise would be sentenced to incarceration.
“This is an increase over last year,” Boxberger said of the state fund allocation for CCKC. At the state level, this was one of only three community corrections agencies to see more money.
There is a reason. The 20th Judicial District experienced a 35 percent increase in its daily population. And, keeping offenders involved in Community Corrections is much cheaper than keeping them in jail.
“We have to figure out what is working for these folks and what is not working for these folks,” Boxberger said. With a goal of encouraging a a crime-free life, CKCC draws on various programs to meet the specific needs of each offender.
Philosophies of treatment change over time. “But in the end the support throughout the service area is the same: We want to live in a safer Kansas with offenders who are held accountable for their actions; learning from their mistakes and establishing a pattern of pro-social decisions,” she said.
In response to rising prison populations, the Kansas enacted the Justice Reinvestment Act in 2013. Among other things, it shifted a heavier burden onto agencies charged with keeping offenders from being behind bars.
“We want do more for our offenders before they go to prison,” Boxberger said. In addition, prison doesn’t stop these people from committing future crimes.
“There’s a lot that is broken with these people,” she said. So, under this new approach, classes are offered and such things as mental health are taken into consideration in planning an intervention program.
So far, CKCC has maintained a 75 percent success rate, meaning only 25 percent of those discharged wind up back in jail. Although this meets or exceeds state requirements, Boxberger said they want to improve that.
The hiring of a new supervisory officer at CKCC has helped, she said. “We want to do as much as we can locally.”
CKCC also receives funds from fees paid by those it serves. The increase state funding allows the fee money to be used of other expenses besides daily operations, she said.