Kansas to merge department of corrections with Juvenile Justice Authority

In this week’s Pitch, we looked at the eight prison escapes that happened in Kansas this year. Interestingly, it was not a particularly high number, and last year, seven folks behind bars slipped away. This is not to say that the Sunflower State is crawling with prison escapees. All of the prisoners that went on the lam this year and last were caught. But it’s a stark difference with Missouri, where a prisoner hasn’t escaped since January 2004.

Earlier this week, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced that the state is merging the Kansas Department of Corrections with the Juvenile Justice Authority. While KDC might have a few problems with slippery inmates, the JJA was the subject of a damning audit this year. The audit found that offenders injured themselves or others, they walked halls freely, and felons were hired.

The Topeka Capital-Journal found that members of both political parties supported the merger, and that the Legislature, which has the power to block the move, likely won’t. KDC spokesman Jeremy Barclay tells The Pitch that he doesn’t anticipate the merger to affect KDC or burden it with extra responsibilities.

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