It’s unfortunate, Barton County commissioners said Monday morning, that Central Kansas Community Corrections has to function under the constant threat of cuts in state funding. But, despite this, CKCC continues to exceed its goal in helping keep released felons from returning to prison.
The Commission approved CKCC’s fiscal year 2015 comprehensive plan, which is basically the agency’s application for funding from the Kansas Department of Corrections. The state requires submission of a plan which requires the review and approval of the Barton County Commission.
CKCC serves the five-county 20th Judicial District that includes Barton, Ellsworth, Rice, Russell and Stafford counties. Barton is the administrative county for the district, that is why Barton County commissioners had to approve the application.
The plan, totaling $424,591.39, was developed with the cooperation of the CKCC Advisory Board, said CKCC Director Amy Boxberger. It covers CKCC’s goals and objectives for the upcoming fiscal year that begins in July.
This year’s request is the same as last year’s, Boxberger said.
“We strive for public safety through offender success,” Boxberger said. “These are interventions that help change (offenders’) lives.”
In 2013, CKCC worked with 105 offenders. Of those, 77 percent completed prescribed programs and did not return to incarceration.
CKCC assesses the risks each felon faces, as well as their individual needs. In designing a strategy, CKCC looks at employment history, drug/alcohol use and past jail time.
In the upcoming year, Boxberger said CKCC wants to maintain at least a 75 percent success rate, strengthen programs for moderate to high-risk clients, and update policies and procedures to make them in line with the most up-to-date practices.
But, Boxberger’s staff faces a large challenge. Despite stagnating state funding, they still have to cover clients scattered over 4,000-plus square miles.
“These numbers show that your program works,” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. But, CKCC is forced to do more with less.
Schartz called the state shortsighted, adding that it may be possible to keep the remaining inmates out of prison with additional resources. “They are penny wise and pound foolish.”