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Community Corrections proud of success
There are challenges dealing with those on probation
CKCC report
Central Kansas Community Corrections Director Amy Boxberger addresses the Barton County Commission Wednesday morning about her annual grant application. - photo by BY DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Supervising those on probation can be a challenging balancing act, Central Kansas Community Corrections Director Amy Boxberger told the Barton County Commission Wednesday morning. They want to give these folks every chance to succeed, but must be mindful of community safety.

She came before the commission Wednesday with the year-end outcomes from its fiscal year 2021 comprehensive plan submission, basically a grant application. These require the review and approval of the Barton County commissioners, as the Administrative county for the 20th Judicial District which CKCC serves. 

“The Kansas Community Corrections Act provides grants to Kansas counties to develop and maintain programming for offenders assigned to community corrections agencies,” Boxberger said. Each year she submits a plan to the Kansas Department of Corrections and it sets out the goals and objectives for the year.

“The problem this year has been that the State of Kansas has transitioned to a new database,” Boxberger said. This happened last April and resulted in her office being able to receive some data from that database.

So, the report for 2021 only includes information from July 2020 through April 2021, not a full fiscal year.

“During that time, our main goal is, of course, to have no more than 25% of our case closures return to the Kansas prison system,” she said. During that reporting period, they had 157 probationers who were discharged from the program with 23 of those, or 15%, having their probations revoked.

“Obviously we’re very proud of the outcomes that we achieve,” she said. “I think we have a culture of trying to help people make true change in their lives to create a safer community for learning.”

Boxberger was asked how long a person remains in the CKCC program. She said there is no easy answer to that.

“I can tell you that we did change some of our processes,” she said. They used to extend people time for non-payment of court costs until they were paid, or they reached a five year limit.

But, “the longer that somebody was on supervision, the more likely that they were getting into more problems moving forward,” she said. “So we’re trying to really keep on task with the probation period that the court ordered.”

Now, they are trying to push them into other interventions to help change their lives. “And then we’re hoping to see some longer change. But the research shows you can over supervise people and you can under supervise people. So we are really just working on trying to find that sweet spot of what their needs are.”

Boxberger stressed that she wants the community to know that if they’ve got somebody who is committing new felony charges, they are asking for revocation. “Outcomes are important, but public safety is our number one priority.”

“One thing I do applaud you and all your staff for is not getting burned out,” District 2 Commissioner Barb Esfeld said. “It seems like you guys just continue to work to find other avenues for them to improve their lives. And I know that can’t be easy when you see the same people sometimes over and over.”

“As long as I keep coming back, I’m good,” Boxberger said of those they serve. Sadly, though, “I’ve known three people that lost their lives to substance use disorder. That is what is kind of the downer because we do put our all in with the people that we supervise, and we care about them and we care about the community.”

“You do a fantastic job and I appreciate that and so do the citizens of our county,” District 4 Commissioner Jim Daily said.