By Jim Misunas
LARNED — Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility Superintendent Kyle Rohr has been appointed as superintendent of the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex East and West in Topeka. The Topeka facility currently houses 224 males and 22 females.
Hutchinson native Rohr made the official announcement at the LJCF advisory council meeting Tuesday afternoon.
“I couldn’t ask for a better citizen advisory group,” he said. “The working relationship has been great,”
Rohr said he will spend several days each week in Topeka and Larned for the time being, serving as superintendent for both facilities. He expects his position won’t be filled in Larned until after the legislative session concludes later this spring.
At Larned, the LJCF staff houses 114 males, whose average stay is about 15 months.
“My biggest goal has always been to take care of the smaller things and that will lead to bigger accomplishments,” he said.
Rohr said Westside School and educational opportunities through Barton Community County has prepared the youth when they leave the facility. Nearly 50 college-level classes are taught at Westside.
“One thing we’re sure of is the youth will leave us and re-enter society,” he said. “Through our educational opportunities, we’re teaching them life skills they can use. We’ve got a great staff who takes great pride goes to work on what needs to get done. They work together as a team and take pride in being a family.”
Rohr said LJCC is a safer, more secure facility, which has been accomplished under cost-conscious budgets.
“Our common goal is taking care of youth.”
Rohr has served as LJCF superintendent since 2009. He previously served as deputy superintendent at LJCF and Juvenile Corrections Director at Larned. His career has included more than 21 years of service with the Kansas Department of Corrections at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility, including a stint as International Corrections Advisor in Baghdad, Iraq in 2006 and 2007.
The Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility has gone through several changes since its 1971 inception as Larned State Hospital’s 30-bed Adolescent Rehabilitation Unit.
It separated from LSH in 1982, coming under the direction of the Social and Rehabilitation Service’s Youth and Adult Services section, and then became part of the newly created Kansas Juvenile Justice Authority in 1997.
The Juvenile Justice Reform Act, passed by the Kansas Legislature in 1996, mandates that only the most violent, serious, and chronic offenders will be referred to juvenile correctional facilities. Additionally, it called for specialized services based upon offender needs.
The 132,000 square foot facility, with its perimeter fence is considered medium security. Youth residents eat, attend school, receive programming and live within the confines of one building. In the facility, each youth resident is assigned a separate room, complete with restroom facilities.
Specialized programs include substance abuse treatment, programming for youth residents who suffer from a mental illness or developmental delay. Cognitive restructuring programs such as: Thinking for a Change, Anger Management, Choices, Changes, and Challenges, Motivation to Change, Violent Offender group, and Sex Offender group. Classes in Independent Living Skills, Activity Therapy, Parenting and vocational work program are offered.
Medical, psychological and religious services are also provided. Youth residents attend high school classes at Westside High School, USD 495, within the facility.
The Kansas Juvenile Justice Authority is a cabinet level criminal justice agency that began operating on July 1, 1997. Individuals as young as 10 years of age and as old as 17 may be adjudicated as juvenile offenders and ordered into the custody of the Commissioner of Juvenile Justice. The JJA may retain custody of a juvenile offender in a juvenile correctional facility to the age of 22 1/2 and in the community to the age of 23.
The JJA leads a broad-based state and local, public and private partnership to provide the state’s comprehensive juvenile justice system. This includes prevention and intervention programs, community-based graduated sanctions and juvenile correctional facilities.