Hundreds of Kansas inmates transferring to Arizona prison

Posted: Updated:
TOPEKA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Due to overcrowding, the state of Kansas is sending hundreds of inmates to a private facility in Arizona.
Kansas has about 10,000 prison inmates. 
That's about 100 more than the listed operating capacity for its facilities. 

About 360 prisoners will be living far away from Kansas by the end of the year.

The Kansas department of corrections is identifying inmates to transfer to Arizona.

"We'll prioritize maximum security level. We'll look at do they get visitation on a regular basis, we'll look at any programming they've involved in, we'll look at do they get visitation on a regular basis so we'll try to prioritize those who aren't getting visited by family members, we'll look at the length of sentence they have left, as well as their medical history," says Randy Bowman.

Randy Bowman is the spokesman for the Kansas Department of Corrections. He says while it's costing the state more to transfer the inmates, the expense will not affect taxpayers.

"The legislation has appropriated a little over 5.4 million directly to us and then the finance council released a little over 4.3 million so that totals about 9.8 million that we anticipate on using this year," says Bowman.

Overcrowding in Kansas prisons seems to be a trend on the rise, not going away any time soon.

"If you look at the sentencing projections of the Kansas sentencing commission last years report has the population by 2028 exceeding 12 thousand inmates. Unless there are some policy decisions or construction decisions in the future, this is what we're left with."

Some states around the country have begun to modify sentencing laws to turn the tide on  this increasing problem, and that's something Kansas is also considering.

Kansas passed legislation last session to begin looking at policy on criminal justice. It's all in an effort to reduce overcrowding.

Transfers to the Arizona prison will start by the end of the summer. 

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