The three agencies we reviewed fully implemented two of the six recommendations made in our prior audit reports. As part of a 2016 audit of the Department for Children and Families’ (DCF) policies and procedures to ensure the safety of children, we found problems related to background checks and monthly in-person visits and issued two recommendations. We determined the department partially implemented one recommendation and fully implemented the other. As part of a 2015 audit to follow up on safety issues at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC), we found continued issues with supervision of juvenile offenders, tool inventory and destruction, and tracking of disciplinary actions and issued three recommendations. We determined KJCC fully implemented one recommendation and partially implemented two recommendations. As part of a 2015 audit to follow-up on issues related to the Kansas Department of Education’s (KSDE) oversight of virtual schools, we found two additional issues related to oversight and issued one recommendation. We determined KSDE partially implemented the recommendation.
Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex: Surveying Staff on the Management Culture at the Facility
The Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC), the state’s only juvenile correctional facility, is located in Topeka and administered by the Kansas Department of Corrections. We surveyed current and former KJCC non-management staff to gather their opinions on the management culture at the facility. Of the 219 staff who received a survey, 48 responded (a 22% response rate). These respondents had mixed opinions about KJCC’s management culture. For example, although only 6 respondents agreed that employee morale is high at KJCC, 27 agreed or strongly agreed that they hoped to be working at the facility in a year. Further, although 23 respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they felt safe working at KJCC, 7 respondents reported being attacked or assaulted by other KJCC staff during the past year.
Community Mental Health: Evaluating Mental Health Services in Local Jails
Kansas jails reported providing a mixture of recommended mental health services, but few provided discharge planning services or training for jail staff. We identified seven national standards for providing mental health services in jails. Most Kansas jails reported some of the recommended mental health services were available, but few reported all were available. Specifically, most jails reported mental health intake and some treatment services were available to inmates, although the types of treatment varied. However, only about one fourth of jails reported discharge planning services were available and less than half of jails reported they provided mental health training to jail staff. In addition, inmates may not receive needed mental health services after they leave jail due to challenges with things like housing, transportation, and a lack of service providers in rural communities. The additional costs required to ensure five jails we reviewed provided all recommended mental health services varied widely. We could not determine the additional costs for all Kansas jails to provide recommended mental health services because of a lack of data and the wide variance in resource needs. However, we estimated it may cost a sample of five jails an additional $25,000 to $375,000 annually to provide the recommended mental health services. Finally, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment currently terminates jail inmates’ Medicaid enrollment contrary to federal guidance. However, the effect may be small because KDHE is not regularly notified when Medicaid recipients enter jail.
Department of Corrections: Comparing the Merits of Lease and Bond Options For Improving or Replacing the Lansing Correctional Facility
The Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) plans to rebuild the Lansing correctional facility and is considering both state financing (bonding) and contractor financing (leasing) for the project. We used a Life-Cycle Cost Model to estimate which financing option would be most cost effective. Our analysis found bond financing with contracted maintenance would likely be the most cost-effective option. These two financing options for rebuilding Lansing create some additional risks and benefits for the state, primarily related to contract terms and project costs.
Department of Corrections: Evaluating Safety Issues at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex
The Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex’s (KJCC) primary responsibility is the daily care, custody, management, and treatment of juvenile offenders. Our July 2012 audit of KJCC identified numerous problems that compromised the safety and security of offenders and staff, including a poor security environment and poor personnel practices. KJCC has made progress since our 2012 audit, but some safety and security problems remain. Specifically, KJCC has taken many actions that substantially addressed nine of 12 recommendations from the 2012 audit. It implemented a new process to track investigations into abuse, neglect, and sexual assault of juvenile offenders. Additionally, KJCC now has a process to internally review critical incidents. Officials have also improved personnel practices related to background checks, staff training, and staffing analyses. Further, KJCC has greatly improved its processes to inventory, track, and secure keys and tools. KJCC’s process also ensures searches are generally frequent and documented. KJCC implemented a new process to address prohibited items, although some items did not make it into that process as they should. Finally, medical staff generally were notified when juvenile offenders were found with alcohol or drugs, but we could not verify if other staff were also notified. KJCC’s actions failed to adequately address two of the 12 audit recommendations. Specifically, as was the case in 2012, KJCC staff did not adequately supervise juvenile offenders. In addition, not all KJCC policies have been updated as needed since our 2012 audit. Finally, officials described taking actions to address our 2012 audit recommendation on staff discipline. Officials believe these actions improved their overall disciplinary process. However, we could not fully evaluate whether officials’ actions addressed our audit recommendation on staff discipline. We did however have several concerns regarding officials’ process in this area.
Larned State Hospital: Reviewing the Operations of the Sexual Predator Treatment Program
In 1994 the Legislature created an involuntary civil commitment program for sexual predators at Larned State Hospital. The goal of the Sexual Predator Treatment Program is to prevent sexual predators from reoffending after their release. The recommended practices for sexual predator programs emphasize individualized treatment. However, Kansas’ program generally did not adhere to the recommended practices, while other states programs we reviewed generally did. The Kansas’ program met many legal requirements, although there were several exceptions related to education and rehabilitation. In addition, residents may not have necessarily arrived at the reintegration facilities with the skills to be successful. Further, we found that program officials had not maintained appropriate records and documentation to effectively manage the program and policies and program guidance were outdated and not adhered to. Until recently, KDADS had not filed annual reports with the legislature as required by statute.
Unless changes are made, the Sexual Predator Treatment Program will exceed capacity at Larned in the next few years and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. We evaluated the impact of six different options to potentially reduce the program’s resident population.
• Treat low-risk residents in a community setting, which would reduce the resident population at Larned State Hospital and reduce program costs.
• Treat medically infirm residents in a secured nursing facility, which would reduce the resident population at Larned but would not significantly affect program costs.
• Treat residents on the “parallel track” in a separate secured facility, which would reduce the resident population at the Larned facility, but potentially increase costs.
• Expand the number of reintegration slots at Osawatomie and Parsons State Hospitals from 16 to 32, which would not reduce the resident population at Larned.
• Limit the time a resident can occupy a slot in a reintegration facility, which would not significantly reduce the resident population at Larned.
• Begin sexual predator treatment before the offender is released from prison, which would not significantly impact resident population and could increase costs.
Finally, we found that statutory housing restrictions make it difficult for residents to leave the program.
JJA: Evaluating the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex, Part 2
This audit of the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex was issued in two parts. Part 1 evaluated safety and security at the facility and was released in July 2012. Part 2 focuses on education and substance abuse programs at the facility.
The Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC) provides adequate basic academic programs to help juvenile offenders earn a high school diploma or equivalent, and those programs are generally equitable for male and female offenders, although there are some exceptions. On the other hand, the technical education and work study programs are not adequate to prepare juveniles for future work opportunities and are not equitable because female offenders do not have access to comparable programs. In addition, KJCC does not currently offer any postsecondary programs to juvenile offenders. Overall, Juvenile Justice Authority (JJA) and KJCC officials have taken a hands-off approach to education programs. For example, they have not formulated plans or established partnerships for appropriate education programs at the facility, nor have they regularly or systematically assessed the effectiveness of the programs.
Under current state law, juvenile correctional facilities are allowed to provide substance abuse services without being licensed as a treatment facility. However, providing unlicensed substance abuse treatment could affect the quality of services and limit some funding opportunities. Although most offenders in Kansas’ juvenile correctional facilities need substance abuse services to reduce the likelihood they will reoffend, the substance abuse services at KJCC are not properly designed to meet the individual needs of offenders. In addition, JJA officials suspended all substance abuse services at KJCC for nearly six months in 2011. Finally, JJA and KJCC officials lack sufficient management information to ensure that juveniles receive adequate and appropriate substance abuse services.
JJA: Evaluating the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex, Part I
The Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC) has not taken adequate steps to ensure the safety of juvenile offenders and staff. We identified numerous safety and security problems at the facility, including that staff have not adequately supervised juvenile offenders, which has led to offender injuries and misconduct. In addition, staff routinely have allowed doors to be propped open or unlocked, allowing offenders to freely roam living units and have access to unauthorized areas. Also, KJCC officials and staff have done a poor job of keeping prohibited items out of the facility and have not tracked, inventoried, or secured keys and tools.
Safety and security problems at the facility have been compounded by poor personnel management. KJCC officials have employed staff with felony or drug convictions because the background check process was inadequate. Also, juvenile corrections officers have not received sufficient and appropriate training in recent years. In addition, KJCC officials have done a poor job of disciplining staff for policy violations, and there is some evidence that shifts at KJCC have not been staffed and supervised properly to ensure safety and security.
Overall, the environment at KJCC has not been conducive to ensuring the safety and security of juvenile offenders and staff. KJCC’s management has been disorganized and has done a poor job of communicating safety and security policies. In addition, severe problems with turnover have increased safety and security risks. Finally, JJA and KJCC officials appear to have favored convenience and expedience over safety and security, and have done a poor job of addressing safety and security problems once they have become aware of them.
Health-Care Related Services: Reviewing Opportunities for Better Coordinating the State's Health-Care Related Programs
By changing Medicaid billing practices, the State could save money spent on inpatient care for Department of Correction’s inmates. Although State agencies could also better coordinate a number of other health-care related programs, service gap issues such as lack of affordable health insurance for low-income single adults can only be addressed through State-level policy decisions. Of more importance is the upcoming federal health care reform, which will greatly affect how health-care related services are provided in Kansas. Its primary goals are to reduce the number of uninsured, slow increases in health care costs, and increase access to health care services and providers. Implementing those reforms will require significant coordination among State agencies. Some State agencies that traditionally have provided health care services will have added responsibilities, while other State agencies—such as the Kansas Insurance Department—will start having a role. At this point, it is too early to know whether State agencies are on track to implement the various provisions of federal health care reform.
Department of Corrections: Reviewing Allegations of Staff Misconduct
Over the last few years, there have been three highly publicized incidents occurring at the Lansing, El Dorado, and Topeka Correctional Facilities. Two of these incidents involved inmate escapes with the help of individuals associated with the correctional facilities. The third incident involved a female inmate getting pregnant after having sexual relations with a correctional employee. These three cases had red flags that facility officials should have recognized and acted upon, which could have prevented each of those incidents. At both Lansing and El Dorado Correctional Facilities, staff failed to follow policies and procedures in place at the time of those incidents. However, the facilities and the Department of Corrections have taken steps to reduce the likelihood such incidents will happen in the future. At Topeka Correctional Facility, a variety of reasons made conditions ripe for staff sexual misconduct in this situation, including a lack of controls over staff and inmate whereabouts. While Topeka Correctional Facility has made some changes, more steps need to be taken to address these particular concerns and to address other systemic problems we noted at the Facility. Data show 197 investigations of facility staff for allegations of sexual misconduct, undue familiarity and trafficking in contraband at these three facilities over five years. When we compared the three facilities’ investigations into these areas, we noted the following: Topeka had significantly more investigations per 100 employees than the other two facilities; Topeka had 58% of its investigations centered on sexual misconduct compared with 9% and 16% at El Dorado and Lansing respectively, and Topeka officials only substantiated about 28% of the investigations, compared with 78% and 76% at the other two facilities. For those cases that were substantiated, the punishment imposed for Topeka cases appeared to be more inconsistent and lenient, especially for undue familiarity. We noted additional areas of concern, including the fact that statutory penalties in Kansas for staff sexual misconduct aren’t as severe as in other states and are even less severe than those for staff trafficking in contraband. Further, we found the Department lacks sufficient management information to ensure that officials are aware of the level of staff misconduct.
Adult Correctional Agencies: Determining Whether Functions Could Be Combined To Gain Cost Efficiencies
From an efficiency standpoint, we found no benefit to merging the 3-member Parole Board into the Department of Corrections. Board members already are co-located with the Department, the two agencies share a conference room, and Department employees provide both the direct and indirect administrative support Board members need. Merging the Sentencing Commission staff function into the Department of Corrections would save about $152,000 a year ($760,000 over five years) by eliminating duplicate administrative functions—including agency management, payroll, IT support, and the like—and the staff positions and other costs associated with them. That represents about 20% of the Commission’s current annual operating costs. If only the administrative functions of the Commission's staff were merged into the Department, and not research functions, the savings would be reduced to about $48,000 a year. Commission staff raised a number of concerns related to merging their functions within the Department, but we think those concerns can be reasonably addressed. Further, many other states perform these functions through a correctional agency.
Larned State Hospital: Reviewing the Growth In the Sexual Predator Treatment Program
Since 1998, the number of residents in Kansas’ Sexual Predator Treatment Program has increased from 16 to 136. The Program is growing because more sex offenders are being committed (2-3 per month in recent years, compared with about 1 per month in 1999), and few are leaving (some haven’t been in the Program long enough to complete it, some aren’t progressing, and some never will). Under an optimistic scenario, the population could increase by 100 residents over the next 10 years and nearly triple over the next several decades before leveling off. Under less optimistic assumptions, it could grow to more than 800 residents before leveling off. Staffing and funding for the Program grew by about 340% and 480% over the past 5 years, respectively, to handle the increase in population, but Kansas staffing levels and operating costs seemed reasonable compared with other states. Most comparison states’ programs were similar, but some have more lenient criteria for releasing residents. Options that exist for curbing the Program’s growth will require Kansas to accept a higher level of risk.
Costs Incurred for Death Penalty Cases: A K-GOAL Audit of the Department of Corrections
Actual cost figures for death penalty and non-death penalty cases in Kansas don't exist. Considering all costs through execution or the end of imprisonment, we estimate the median death penalty case that has gone to trial so far in Kansas would cost an estimated $1.2 million, or about 60% more than the estimated cost of the median case in a small sample of non-death penalty cases used for comparison. The trial stage accounts for nearly $475,000 of the higher projected costs, and the appeal-related stages accounts for another $382,000. Death penalty trial costs tend to be higher because the trials are lengthier, a separate trial is held for sentencing, more jurors are called, and there's generally a greater use of expensive expert witnesses. Appeal costs are higher because, with the defendant's life at stake, there tend to be more appeals and more issues raised each time an appeal is made. Because much of the process involved in trying a death penalty case is prescribed by law or the U.S. Supreme Court, we found little variation between Kansas and a sample of other states, and no real opportunity for eliminating steps in the process. Opportunities to save costs need to be focused on other areas, such as providing for a true life sentence without the possibility of parole to possibly reduce the number of appeals, possibly creating a specialized group of judges or law clerks who may be able to more efficiently handle death penalty cases because of research and expertise, and ensuring that the State Board of Indigents' Defense Services can handle as many death penalty cases as possible rather than hiring contract attorneys at much higher cost.
Juvenile Justice Authority Information Systems: Reviewing the Authority’s Management of Those Systems
This report focuses on four areas of the Authority's computer security: managing security, limiting access to computer systems, managing changes to critical software, and planning for business continuity in the event of a disaster. The Authority's security planning process lacked two important steps: conducting vulnerability assessments and monitoring the effectiveness of the security controls. In addition, it lacked policies on responding to security incidents, collecting audit trails inside the network, and creating strong passwords. In many respects the Authority had good access controls to manage who is allowed into its computer systems. However, we found weaknesses that put the agency at risk, such as inadequate password requirements and not being current with security patches for its database software. The Authority had many of the policies we were looking for on controlling changes to important software, but needed a more formal process for managing and tracking changes. Finally, we found that the Authority hadn't conducted any business continuity planning, increasing the risk that it wouldn't be able to respond adequately in the event of a disaster.
Juvenile Justice Prevention Programs: A K-GOAL Audit Reviewing How Well the Juvenile Justice Authority is Overseeing Those Programs
Each year since 1999, the Legislature has provided money to the Juvenile Justice Authority to allocate to each of the State's 31 judicial districts for juvenile offender prevention programs. The law requires those programs to have measurable outcomes and baseline data to benchmark their performance. Only 6 of 31 programs we reviewed had acceptable outcomes and baseline data. About one-third of the 111 outcomes for the other 25 programs either weren't measurable or didn't have good baseline data. Although the Juvenile Justice Authority has developed good standards in this area, those standards haven't been consistently enforced at either the State or local levels. The report questions almost $5,500 worth of expenditures made for staff lunches, memberships to organizations, newspaper subscriptions, and the like. The Authority relies on the local officials to ensure that expenditures are appropriate, but it hasn't done enough to ensure that reliance is justified. Program documentation needs to be improved to show results rather than just program activities, if anyone is going to be able to make sound judgments about whether only successful programs are being funded.
Lansing Correctional Facility: Reviewing Issues Related to Overtime and Staffing (100-hour audit)
Lansing Correctional Facility spent about $1 million on overtime in fiscal year 2000, about 40% of which officials consider to be excess overtime caused by a high number of vacancies. Prison officials said they've had a hard time filling vacant corrections officer positions because of low salaries. If all the money spent on excess overtime could have been spent instead on increasing base salaries to attract new officers, those salaries could have been raised by an average of about $800 to $900 per position. That increase would be far less if the salaries to fill any vacant positions were paid out of these same excess overtime moneys. Even if all the excess moneys were used together with the 7.5% raise in starting salaries that occurred in February 2001 when the bottom steps of the State pay plan were eliminated, starting salaries would still be 1.6% to 7.3% below what competing employers currently are paying for similar positions. If such a salary increase weren't enough to help fill vacant positions, Lansing could be faced with even higher overtime costs, because it still would need employees to work a lot of excess overtime, and that overtime would be based on higher salaries.
A K-GOAL Audit of the Department of Corrections, Part II: Assessing the Department’s Procedures for Dealing with Parole Violators
Kansas' parolee supervision and sanctioning procedures compare favorably to other states we reviewed, but only a few other states have detailed written criteria parole officers are to follow when issuing sanctions for parole violators. Lack of comparison data about parolees' criminal activity in other states makes it difficult to know whether Kansas' grid adequately protects the public, but half of the parole officers we surveyed thought it wasn't adequate. They told us more behaviors need to be considered violations, and sanctions need to be stricter. During a recent eight-month period, we found that few of the parole officers had completed all the routine supervision tasks that would help them to know if parolees were committing violations. However, when they did find violations, parole officers followed the sanctioning criteria about 82% of the time. In the 18% of the cases where officers didn't follow the criteria, they tended to be more lenient than allowed. When we reviewed cases involving parolees charged with committing serious crimes, we found that the sanctioning criteria wasn't followed as often as in the other random cases. In addition to supervision and sanctioning shortcomings in these serious cases, we also found communication problems.
A K-GOAL Audit of the Department of Corrections, Part I: Assessing Staff Safety and Salary Issues
To deal with staff shortages, the prison facilities use relief staff, leave less-critical posts vacant (a plan called operational staffing), and rely on overtime. The medium- and minimum-security units at Lansing Correctional Facility are frequently operated at staffing levels that could compromise staff safety, and officials there often don't follow their operational staffing plan. In at least one case, an employee was seriously attacked while left alone because of staff shortages. Corrections officers have expressed general concerns about their safety. Other Kansas correctional facilities may be experiencing the same types of problems. Low salary levels have contributed to staffing shortages. Kansas corrections officer salaries were 11 % to 15% below salaries paid by other similar entities. Kansas also had one of the highest turnover rates in the five-state region over the past five years. A significant number of officers who've left the system cited low salaries as a reason for leaving, and many more say they've considered leaving for that reason. Inability to recruit staff to fill positions has worsened staff shortages, tripled overtime costs, and increased the burden on existing staff. Finally, although most officers say they have the type of communications equipment they need, and that it generally works, some specific problems mentioned include untimely equipment repair, some old and outdated equipment, and @dead spots@" where communications signals won't penetrate."
Reviewing Reasons for Recent Increases In the Number of Former Inmates Returned to Kansas Prisons
After several years of increase, the number of parole violators being returned to prison declined during fiscal years 1995 and 1996 before beginning to increase in fiscal year 1997. About 90% of the increase in the number of parole violators being returned to prison in fiscal year 1997 can be attributed to slightly higher revocation rates, and most of the remaining increase is due to having more people on parole. It didn’t appear to us that parole violators were being returned to prison for less-serious reasons during fiscal year 1997. More than half the parole violators in the sample we reviewed were returned to prison only after the Department had imposed special conditions or sanctions for previous violations of their parole. We didn’t see any noteworthy differences between this group and the other cases in our sample where no sanctions were imposed before parole was revoked. Both groups had violated three or more conditions of their parole at the time they were returned to prison. Another group of parole violators in our sample committed violations such as possessing a weapon, testing positive for PCP, or evading or eluding an officer, which required the parole officer to automatically recommend parole revocation. Community corrections was used as an alternative sanction in more than one-fourth of the cases we reviewed. However, services available from community corrections were limited and may not have been a suitable alternative when a return to prison was the only thing that would stop someone from violating the conditions of his or her parole.
Reviewing the Implementation of the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act
Through September 1994, 1,629 inmates had been released early through the retroactivity provisions of the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act. The Department made some errors in converting inmates’ sentences, a few of which affected inmates’ release dates. Inmates released under retroactivity did not commit any more crimes after they were released than a similar group of inmates released on parole. Sentencing guidelines have decreased sentence length for some more serious crimes, and increased sentence length for some less serious crimes. In three areas--repeat property offenses, certain sex crimes, and certain drug crimes--many people question whether the sentences are proportional to the crime. Guidelines sentences are more uniform, but departures can reduce the degree of uniformity. A number of problems exist with the implementation of sentencing guidelines, including problems relating to technical parole violators, increases in the number of trials, incomplete criminal history records, and incomplete and inaccurate information provided to the Sentencing Commission.
Reviewing Security and Management Issues at the Youth Center at Topeka
Officials in the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services have made strides in correcting the numerous, major deficiencies identified in our 1989 audit of the Youth Center at Topeka. However, many of those same issues remain as problems in 1994. The existence of a perimeter fence has significantly reduced the number of escapes from the Youth Center, but many other security weaknesses (including staffing shortages) continue to present risks of harm to the staff and students. The Youth Center has given violent offenders various kinds of off-campus passes, a practice that presents undue risks to the public. Our survey of Youth Center staff indicated little confidence in the upper management of the Center. Management officials need to correct problems with criminal record checks on new employees, evaluations of employees, and recordkeeping. We found the Department has not adequately managed a four-year federal grant to ensure that federal moneys were spent properly and that the grant’s objectives would be met. Finally, other states have tried various new programs for rehabilitating juvenile offenders, but their effectiveness has not yet been proven.
Reviewing the Operations of the Kansas Parole Board
The amount of work the Parole Board will have to accomplish under the sentencing guidelines will not change significantly, but the nature of the work will. In the next few years, the Board will conduct fewer parole hearings to decide whether criminals should be paroled, and will conduct more file reviews to determine appropriate post-release conditions for inmates sentenced under guidelines. These types of reviews could be done by lower-paid professionals which could allow the size of the Parole Board to be reduced. The Board has not established procedures to ensure that it operates efficiently and effectively. It has overspent its budget in each of the past two years and has not followed travel regulations which would have saved the Board enough money to more than cover its operating deficits. Also, the Board needs to ensure that new members are trained and that procedures are established to assign work to staff and board members.
Food Service Operations at Correctional Facilities
The State spent about $5.85 million to obtain food for correctional facilities in fiscal year 1989. The facilities that were open all year spent an average of 95¢ per meal to purchase food. Most of the food is purchased from State sources--either from State contracts or from Kansas Correctional Industries’ meat processing plant. The audit report recommends that the Department establish a Statewide policy on how meals are to be counted, so that costs can be reported consistently. The report also makes numerous recommendations for the Department and its facilities to hold down the costs of food service operations. Our recommendations to the Department include establishing Statewide food-management policies and procedures, standardizing menus for all Department facilities, considering consolidated purchasing and warehousing, reviewing staffing levels and supervision of inmate food service workers, and ensuring that weaknesses are addressed at the facilities we visited.
Review of an Escape at Stockton Correctional Facility
We found that facility administrators followed the rules and regulations governing their decision whether to place the inmate in administrative segregation, and the basis of their decision to keep him on the premises appears to have been reasonable, based on the documented information available at the time. A lack of communication within the facility meant that important information about the inmate's behavior was not available to facility administrators when they decided to not place the inmate in administrative segregation.
In general, the audit showed that the Youth Center at Topeka is not equipped to provide the level of security needed for the individuals being placed there. The lack of a fence around the campus as well as weaknesses in the physical facilities and staffing levels may have allowed students to escape rather easily. Also, Youth Center officials do not take into account all available information such as a student’s runaway history when determining the level of supervision a student needs. More importantly, a lack of strong management at the facility has created an atmosphere where poor performance is tolerated, staff morale is low, and overall security is not as strong as it should be.
Reviewing the Usefulness of State Reception and Diagnostic Center Evaluations
Users indicate that the Center’s evaluations are useful, but that the recommendations cannot always be followed because of overcrowding in treatment programs. The Center’s evaluations contain some of the same information as the courts’ pre-sentence investigations, but they often provide additional information that users say they need. Moving the evaluation function to the Penitentiary and Reformatory would not be more cost-effective because evaluation costs would be shifted to those facilities and the Diagnostic Center would still be operated as a small prison with high costs. Finally, the Department has not established procedures to ensure that evaluations of men and women are substantially equal.
A September 1986 inquiry, in which Ombudsman personnel attempted to corroborate allegations against the Director of the El Dorado Honor Camp, did not exceed the Office’s statutory authority. However, some of the investigative techniques used may have been inappropriate.
Examining Prison Population Growth and Its Impact on Inmate Housing and Programs
Recent population increases have been caused by more parole and probation violators being returned to prison and fewer paroles being granted. The Parole Board’s policy requiring unanimous votes to release class A and B felons has little impact on overcrowding. More treatment programs and more minimum- and medium-security bedspaces are needed.
Personnel Policies and Practices at Kansas State Penitentiary
The Penitentiary’s written policies and most of the 210 personnel actions reviewed complied with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and requirements. The Penitentiary failed to fully comply in several areas. Many employees surveyed said that morale was low. They cited poor communication, understaffing, and perceived favoritism in promotion and job assignments.
Controls over cash are adequate, but reducing the cash on hand would minimize the potential for loss. Controls over prescription drugs need to be strengthened, but it is difficult to control illegal drugs coming from the outside. Controls to protect staff depend on the staff’s ability to monitor youths physically or electronically. Other youth centers have more staff for monitoring students.
Using Inmate Labor for Construction and Remodeling Projects
Using inmate labor for construction and remodeling projects saved 40-45 percent of the projects’ estimated cost. Despite limitations to using inmate labor outside correctional facilities, the audit identifies several planned State projects where the use of inmate labor might be practical.
In fiscal year 1984, State agenices could have purchased an additional $54,000 worth of paint products and $359,000 worth of soap products from prison factories. Local units of government also offer a huge potential market. The audit presents several options for expanding and encouraging sales.
Inmate Health Care
Published: JULY, 1985
Poorly maintained clinical records made health care needs difficult to assess. This audit suggests ways to provide more effective and lower-cost health care services. Decisions on further actions may need to wait on improved information.
Prison populations are over the Department’s stated maximum. If population forecasts are accurate, current building and renovating efforts will provide little long-term relief. The prisons have the space to hold more inmates, but small cells, sanitary restrictions, and security and safety reasons often preclude further crowding.
Pre-Release Centers Operated By the Department of Corrections
Published: FEBRUARY, 1985
The department placed 352 inmates in the Topeka and Winfield pre-release centers during fiscal year 1984. Among other findings, the report shows that one inmate in six had not been officially classified as minimum custody prior to placement. Actions are recommended to correct the problems.
Examining Potential Duplication Between Community Corrections and District Court Probation Services
Department of Corrections’ regulations help minimize duplication programs and services. There was no evidence to suggest that a significant number of individuals in community corrections would otherwise have been placed on regular probation. Counties appear to be using community correction funds primarily to provide or enhance corrections programs for D and E felons who otherwise would have been sent to prison.
Inmate Claims Against the State
Published: AUGUST, 1984
The number of inmate property claims could be minimized if the Department of Corrections closely adhered to established procedures for controlling property, consistently followed standard investigation procedures, and approved all valid claims internally.
Overcrowding in Kansas Prisons
Published: APRIL, 1984
Prison populations are increasing sharply because of increased admissions, longer sentences, and fewer paroles. New bed space will be filled quickly if those population trends continue. Some buildings have space that could be converted to house inmates and help alleviate overcrowding, but not in the near future. Local jails and community corrections also have potential, but each has its limitations.
About one-third of all minimum-custody inmates now live in maximum-security cell-houses. Some of these inmates may not be ready for placement in less secure settings, but the Department of Corrections says there are enough to fill current and proposed minimum-security facilities.
Correctional Industries and Inmate Rehabilitation at the State Penitentiary
Published: SEPTEMBER, 1983
More than half of the inmates at the Penitentiary have no job. There is also little relationship between working experience in the Penitentiary and success on parole. A number of problems in the work programs need to be corrected.
Authorization was given to this audit to anaylze Kansas Correctional Industries and the rehabilitative aspects of inmate work programs. This audit focused on inmate work programs at the Kansas State Penitentiary.
Audit of Selected Funds at Kansas State Penitentiary
The purpose of the audit was to answer several legislative questions regarding the use of Inmate Benefit Funds to provide matching moneys in obtaining an outside grant for constructing a cable television system at the prison, the need for additional moneys to complete the project, and the status of construction work on the project.