The Sedgwick County district attorney is speaking up about a recent report by the Kansas ACLU. He believes the report targets him and state prosecutors. From accusations of flawed data to using Marc Bennett as a political pawn, he called the authors of an ACLU report.

The 30 page report from the Kansas ACLU said that state prosecutors failed to offer nonviolent offenders an alternative to prison known as diversion. It usually requires community services and counseling, which would allow a person to avoid time behind bars while still being punished for their crime.

"Diversion is run by my office, my staff," Marc Bennett, Sedgwick County District Attorney, said. "I don't have clinicians. I don't have probation officers. They can't go out to peoples' homes. They don't follow them to work and do job checks."

Bennett said the report couldn't be further from the truth.

"They're wrong and frankly I'd have to say it's a lie," he said. "It's just laughable. So, I don't know where they got the numbers they claim.

The report accuses Bennett of using diversions on felonies at a rate of 1.8 percent, far below a national average of 9 percent. It also claims those actions cost taxpayers an extra $200 million each year, by adding several hundred people to the prison system. 

"Based on what?" Bennett asked when reviewing the ACLU report. "You don't go to prison instead of getting diversion."

Bennett responded with his own report, accusing the ACLU of glossing over reality. He argued it's only appropriate for first time offenders who commit low-level crimes.

State statute doesn't mandate diversion as an option, though it is presented to non-violent offenders as an option for application. 

Bennett adds county comparisons aren't effective because the natures of crimes can vary too much. 

The ACLU responded to Bennett's report, saying "We categorically reject DA Bennett's accusation that the ACLU of Kansas deliberately manipulated data."