Community Corrections in Sedgwick County, Kansas
1983 through 2015
Community Corrections (CC) in Kansas was established through enactment of K.S.A. 75-5290 by the 1978 Legislature. Patterned after the Minnesota Community Corrections Act, Community Corrections was intended to provide alternatives to both incarceration and new prison construction. Initially, CC was optional and counties were not required to establish CC programs. However, with the passage of SB 49 in 1989, counties not previously participating in CC were required to establish programs – whether singly, in groups, or by contracting with existing programs. Adult offenders were the primary population until the 1994 Legislature provided for statewide expansion of juvenile services through CC. The responsibility for juvenile offender supervision was transferred to the Juvenile Justice Authority (JJA) by the 1997 Legislature.
The 2000 Kansas Legislature approved legislation that defined the target population to be served by CC agencies. Probation violators must be assigned to CC before being revoked and sent to prison unless the violation includes a new conviction or the court makes a finding that public safety and/or the offender's welfare will not be served by doing so. The law further provides that CC agencies may provide services to juveniles if the local advisory/governing board grants approval.
Currently, thirty-one CC agencies provide services for adult offenders in all 105 Kansas counties. The following chronological record recounts the significant events of Community Corrections in Sedgwick County.
Located in south-central Kansas, Sedgwick County is the second most populous of all 105 Kansas counties. The United States Census (2013) estimates more than 505,000 residents of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds reside within the county. The City of Wichita is the largest city in Sedgwick County, as well as the entire State of Kansas, with over 382,000 residents. The racial and ethnic composition of the total population has steadily become more diverse and in 2013 was 70.7% White and 29.3% Minority (13.7% Hispanic, 10% African American, 4.5% Asian, and 1.1% American Indian).
Sedgwick County began their process in May 1980 when the Community Corrections Advisory Board was established by County Resolution Number 119-1980. The Board's focus was to identify service gaps in the existing system and consider programs for Community Corrections funding. Early in the planning process, it became clear that the primary focus for Community Corrections should be the adult chargeback population. A controlled adult residential facility became the major program goal for the adult population. Although Community Corrections funding was also intended to serve the targeted juvenile chargeback offenders, it was determined to be a lower priority as the juvenile system had relatively more available community-based services. (Juvenile Community Corrections services were not implemented until 1988.)
1983 – 1989
The Community Corrections Division officially began on July 1, 1983 and the first client was ordered to the adult residential program on July 5, 1983.
The adult chargeback population included most 1st and 2nd time class D & E felony offenders. The State's fiscal award was based on an entitlement funding formula which was subsequently reduced by the daily rate times the number of days that Sedgwick County's chargeback offenders spent in prison. The Division's goal was to divert this targeted population to community corrections' programming in order to fully utilize the State entitlement funds. To accomplish this, staff evaluators screened all felony cases set for disposition in the 18th Judicial District (JD) and made formal recommendations to the Court regarding those in the chargeback population.
Administrative and Non-Residential services were initially housed in the Sedgwick County Courthouse, 525 N. Main, on the mezzanine level. Residential programming was established in a 22 bed male facility at 1158 N. Waco. Additional male beds, as well as the female beds, were provided through a contract with the Halfway House for Adults, Inc., a private, nonprofit agency.
The residential program was a highly structured facility which emphasized client supervision and accountability. The program also provided referrals and intensive services in the areas of employment, substance abuse and psychological counseling, education and family therapy. All residents were expected to maintain full-time employment and/or school placement in the community. Considerable emphasis was placed on budgeting of personal income, mastering daily living skills, and preparing for the client's eventual release to the community. All clients were also expected to complete a minimum of 24 hours of community service. Residential programming involved movement through levels which generally averaged 140 days to complete.
Implementation of the 1983 plan included four major areas: Administration, Intake/Evaluation, Adult Residential Services, and Non-Residential Services. The Non-Residential services component was further broken down into four additional sub-components: Non-Residential Supervision, Community Service Program, and two contracted services including Sexual Abuse Treatment Program and Victim Offender Mediation Services. The Community Service Program and the Non-Residential Supervision components were implemented in October, 1983. The Community Service Program was also utilized by the 18th JD court judges when a defendant was ordered to perform community service work in lieu of jail time, payment of a fine, or as a condition of probation. The majority of court-ordered participants were DUI offenders who were ordered to perform 100 hours of community service in lien of a minimum of 2 days in jail. Others were allowed to pay their fine through community service.
During the early years of Community Corrections, the most common reason for revocation was absconding from the residential facility. Other common revocation reasons were persistent violations of program regulations and court-ordered conditions of probation.
In 1985, the administrative and non-residential services were relocated to 604 N. Main (ECCO Plaza building). The residential center was also relocated to a leased building at 309 N. Market where it operated as a 54 bed co-ed facility. In 1985, the Residential Center was awarded a Certificate of Accreditation by the American Correctional Association (ACA) for a prestigious 100% compliance with all corrections standards for operation of an adult residential facility.
In 1986, Non-Residential Services moved to 1007 W. Douglas and a three-quarter way house was created above the office space at 1007 ½ W. Douglas. The ¾-way house provided semi-structured, supervised apartment living for up to six lower-risk, male clients. Previously, because of a lack of finances or appropriate residences, these clients were typically placed in the residential facility. The program was designed to avoid unnecessary costs and crowding in the residential facility. Rent payments from the clients in the ¾-way house substantially supported the office space rental at 1007 W. Douglas.
Also in 1986, the Home Surveillance Program was initiated as a super-intensive level of non-residential supervision, with a minimum of four field contacts per week, including curfew checks. The Home Surveillance Program was analogous to programs called “House Arrest” in other jurisdictions. It provided another alternative to residential placement for appropriate clients. Additionally, in-house substance abuse programs, AA and NA groups and a minority support group were all initiated within the residential program.
Despite the fiscal impacts, the Division responded to the needs of the community's stakeholders by reassessing the targeted offender criteria. In 1987, the Division broadened its acceptance criteria by screening any offender referred directly by the sentencing judge. However, in 1988, SB 457 eliminated the chargeback provision of the CC funding plan. Without financial penalty, counties then had conditional access to their total community corrections entitlement monies to provide locally-based community corrections programming.
CC juvenile programming began in 1988 with the addition of one ISO to coordinate efforts with SRS regarding targeted juvenile offenders.
In May 1989, the residential facility again achieved 100% compliance with ACA standards when it successfully completed the 3 year reaccreditation process.
Also in 1989, the County purchased the 905 N. Main building for the combined Administrative and Field Services (previously referred to as non-residential) activities and purchased the buildings at 207/209 N. Emporia for the expanded residential center. The leased buildings at 1007 W. Douglas, 1007 ½ W. Douglas, 604 N. Main, and 309 N. Market were vacated.
1990 – 1999
Throughout the years, many special purpose grants have provided client services in substance abuse treatment, GED preparation, etc. These sometimes lasted a year or so before being defunded. For example, Bureau of Justice grant monies were used for two certified drug and alcohol counselors who provided post-treatment counseling for clients in the residential program. Also, Adult Day Reporting was developed in 1993. Services included GED preparation, contractual services for alcohol/drug evaluations, outpatient substance abuse treatment groups, relapse prevention treatment, individual counseling with family involvement, pre-treatment, and life skills groups with included job readiness and employment maintenance.
In April 1992, electronic monitoring programming was added to the Adult Intensive Supervision Program (AISP).
In 1995, the county Divisions of Youth Services and Community Corrections were merged to create the current Division of Corrections.
1995 also brought an increased focus on the goal of promoting positive, long-term behavioral change in all CC clients. Use of the client management classification (CMC) tool assisted intensive supervision officers in identifying and prioritizing offender needs and developing objective-based plans with the offenders to aid and encourage their efforts to become law-abiding citizens.
A partnership with Social & Rehabilitative Services (SRS) in 1995 provided intensive supervision services to youthful offenders departing state youth centers.
For 12 years, the 76 bed co-ed residential facility operated at 207/209 N. Emporia. However, once again, the residential programming need exceeded the capacity of the physical plant. In 1999, on any given day there were 30 offenders in the community awaiting admission into the residential facility and another 30 – 35 waiting in jail. A supplemental award from the Community Corrections Violator Grant allowed the implementation of the Intensive Day Intervention Program. (IDIP) The program's focus was to assist in reducing the number of condition violator prison placements by providing client centered services.
In 1998, the administration and funding of the juvenile community corrections changed with the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Reform Act. As the Sedgwick County Division of Corrections assumed supervision of the juvenile offenders in the custody of the Juvenile Justice Authority, the JISP was moved to the Division's new Juvenile Field Services Division. (JFS)
2000 – 2010
In 2001, the County sold the residential buildings on N. Emporia and purchased the buildings at 622 E. Central and 623 E. Elm. The current 120 co-ed bed capacity residential facility and the services center serve the adult residential services programming needs. The new location provided many improvements such as: more space for more classes and multiple activities to be in session at one time; an all purpose room that provides space for visitation, inside recreation and weekend faith services; a separate dorm building that allowed staff to monitor the clients on one floor: and better security and safety for both staff and clients.
In 2003, significant reductions were made due to funding cuts. The AISP surveillance team, electronic monitoring (EMD) and employment assistance were suspended or eliminated due to funding cuts.
In 2003, the Wichita Day Reporting Center (DRC) became available as a resource for CC clients who might otherwise be sent to prison as a result of probation violations. CC clients were served as space allowed at no cost to the Division or County.
In 2004, the Condition Violator grant was defunded. During 2005, SB 123 (the new alternative drug sentencing law) was passed to address many of the same client substance abuse treatment needs with a new target population.
In January 2005, as a result of work with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) and Sedgwick County government, CC received local funding for a 45-bed expansion of the residential center. The expansion helped to reduce the waiting list of clients housed at the jail.
In 2006, as a result of the growth in staffing from the addition of SB 123 programming, CC Administrative Services relocated to the newly constructed Juvenile Detention Facility at 700 S. Hydraulic. Adult Field Services offices currently remain at 905 N. Main.
As a result of SB 14, a Risk Reduction Plan was developed and approved by the Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners with implementation in November 2007.
The plan targeted two client groups that were at moderate to high risk to reoffend and/or fail to succeed on probation and enter prison. The first was the Risk Reduction Group assigned to ISP and scoring in the moderate to high-risk category on the LSI-R assessment instrument. The second was the Reentry Group and included clients returning to live in the community from the residential center and the Labette Correctional Conservation Camp (LCCC). Specialized and proven interventions were developed that reduced officer caseloads, enhanced case planning and management, competency development, cognitive behavioral skills training, reentry management and facilitated client transitions.
In January 2008, AISP re-organized offenders and classified them to specific teams based on risk levels determined by the LSI-R. During implementation, ISOs were trained in the use of evidence-based practices. Cognitive skills programming with the clients began in May, 2008.
About this same time, another obstacle faced our local criminal justice system with the closure of Labette Correctional Conservation Camp (LCCC).
With the influx of new funding to support SB 14 RRI plans, additional resources for staff and clients were added. They included the Skills Developer (to develop staff skills with Motivational Interviewing), a contracted COMCARE mental health case manager, and Employment Specialist to assist clients obtain and maintain employment. Client flex funds assisted clients with housing, education, transportation, and treatment.
In November 2008, the Sedgwick County Drug Court Program was added to the Division. It was designed to serve 120 felony offenders who are most in need of treatment services and whose addictions most negatively impact our community. Most referrals come from AISP.
Sedgwick County experienced positive results with the transition to evidence-based practices. In SFY 2008, client revocations were reduced by 29%. In SFY 2009, client revocations of probation were reduced by 15.6% and successful completions increased by 12% from the baseline year (SFY2006).
In 2009, the intake process was refined and a short version of the LSI-R was used to determine initial team assignments in AISP. This form is referred to as the LSI-R Short Version (LSI-R S/V). The LSI-R S/V does an effective job of identifying a client's risk level for assigning them to the appropriate supervision team with 91% accuracy.
In November 2009, Adult Residential and AISP merged and became the Community Corrections division. The consolidation of the Reentry and Residential teams occurred in January 2010 due to budget constraints and a program evaluation by Wichita State University (WSU). The program evaluation recommended that the majority of the resources be targeted to the intensive supervision Level II and III clients. As a result, a containment model of supervision for Level I clients was adopted that included electronic monitoring, increased reporting, curfew, the utilization of thinking reports and decisional balance exercises. Fewer resources are also devoted to the Level IV clients.
The LSI-R was not designed to accurately measure the risk level of the sex offender population. To address this area, staff have been trained on the administration of the Static 99. In November 2010, the entire supervisory staff and four ISOs were trained on the use of the Static 99, and the Acute and Stable 07 sex offender assessments.
The Static 99 and the Acute and Stable 07 sex offender assessments were utilized with every new sex offender assigned to AISP. This information was utilized as a supervision strategy to identify risk of the offender in the community and to share with treatment providers as they work with our clients in individual and group sessions. This was a significant change in our organizational development which has led to increased public safety regarding the sex offenders we supervise in our community.
We have utilized Masters in Social Work (MSW) students in a variety of areas to extend staff resources. They assist with cognitive skills groups, the implementation of a weekly employment lab at Residential, administer motivational surveys, conduct mock job interviews, monitor client computer time, and provide individual assistance with client job search/educational efforts.
The capacity of the Adult Residential Facility was reduced from 120 to 65. The reason for this change was a decision by the County to stop funding the bed expansion made in 2005. The target population was changed to serve probation violators only, eliminating the sentencing option for direct placement by the District Court. Reducing capacity required stopping admission for 6 months and the elimination of a waiting list for admission. Acceptance was based upon a bed being available with 14 days. After this change, assignments were only made to adult intensive supervision and to our surprise the number of offenders with downward departure sentences increased to 39% of admissions. The result has been an increase in revocations for new crimes. Thus, these system changes have had a significant negative impact upon our overall outcomes.
Evidence-based practices have been demonstrated to reduce revocations, increase client success and reduce recidivism in our community. However, it takes staff resources to get the full effect from the investments that have already been made. A local cost of $7/day to provide intensive supervision with evidence-based programming is required. Funding at the $5/day resulted in increased caseloads, less intensive supervision, less programming and more revocations.
The client recidivism rate for those that successfully complete probation is outstanding. As part of our monitoring and evaluation, we track those clients in our local criminal justice database at 6 and 12 months to determine if they were arrested or received a new charge. The recidivism rate is running at less than 11%.
Community Corrections experienced an increase in clients failing on probation and being sent to prison as compared to the prior year. We did not meet the 20% target reduction in revocations set by the Legislature. However, we did achieve the 20% increase in successful completions as compared to the SFY06 baseline.
Community Corrections was assigned 313 new presumptive prison cases from the District Court. These cases were in addition to the numbers that were already under supervision. This continued to be a difficult population to manage and effect long lasting behavior change in order to address their pro-criminal attitudes and beliefs.
Significant differences can be identified between probation populations as a whole, and those who are revoked. These differences are identified through the risk assessment process where scoring in the 10 domains has proven to predict their risk to commit further crimes. Clients closing successfully demonstrate lower risk in these areas while revoked clients demonstrate higher risk. The analysis indicates that this does not occur by chance and that the identified domains can be used in understanding likely success or failure.
Community Corrections was assigned 322 new presumptive prison cases from district court. This practice has continued to present significant challenges for the program to meet state outcomes.
Community Corrections improved successful client completions of probation by 7% over the previous year. This rate of improvement exceeded the state minimum threshold requiring at least a 3% gain to meet the annual performance. While this is a noteworthy accomplishment, the success rate in Sedgwick County is significantly lower than the average of the other agencies. (Sedgwick County success rate of 49.2% compared to the average of others at 70.5%.)
Effective Practices in Community Supervision (EPICS) training was rolled out by KDOC for all case management staff. All AISP/Residential ISOs attended the training which provided valuable case management information that they have begun planning to integrate into their daily work.
We administer the LSI-R short version to clients at intake to quickly assess actuarial risk in order to place them on the appropriate supervision level as soon as they start supervision. We continue to administer the full LSI-R assessment within the first 45 days of client assignment. If the two assessments vary, the supervision level is set by the full assessment's results.
We have collaborated with the administration at Ellsworth and Norton Correctional Facilities to provide refurbished used bicycles to address transportation barriers for some of our clients.
A new initiative was a pilot project with the District Court and Wichita State University (WSU) to develop and validate an evidence-based pretrial risk assessment instrument. Staff from the Pretrial Services Program were tasked with field testing the instrument by interviewing detainees at the adult detention facility for analysis by WSU. The goal was to complete a sample of 1,200 assessments by the end of 2014. Additionally, a pilot project to implement and refine a risk assessment at the presentence stage of criminal proceeding for felony offenders with pending sentences of presumptive prison was undertaken in cooperation with Court Services. Their staff completed the risk assessments on offenders facing border box sentences. The information was provided to judges for consideration when making sentencing decisions.
New grant funding from KDOC via the Justice Reinvestment Initiative provided new and expanded behavioral interventions to address mental health and substance abuse in high risk clients. The funding also provided expanded collaboration through co-location of staff from treatment agencies. WSU is providing ongoing assessment and reevaluation of results for use in making course corrections in the plan.
A plan was implemented to launch a new intervention strategy with gang members through partnership with local gang intervention specialists. Through these new and expanded strategies, our goals are to reduce the number of revocations for arrests for new crimes and increase success of high risk clients on probation.
Our Division continues to strive to place an emphasis on ISOs and supervisors refining their Motivational Interviewing (MI) skill set. They receive annual MI refresher training in order to continue to enhance their skills. In addition, quality assurance is a regular practice for all teams at AISP. Supervisors complete audio tape audits of MI interactions between ISOs and their clients. Another quality assurance involves the supervisors completing a comprehensive file audit to examine the use of MI strategies, as evidenced by chronological documentation, and to ensure that the case plan represents collaboration between the ISO and the client.
Over the last three decades, Sedgwick County has been progressive and has made great strides in providing adult community corrections programming. However, this is an area where there is always more that needs to be done. The more recent trend of judicial departures for offenders facing presumptive prison sentences has had a significant negative impact on our outcomes. Additionally, there continues to be too many technical probation violators, mentally ill, and offenders with overwhelming needs. With the Risk Reduction Initiative and evidence-based practices, we have seen what can be achieved when adequate funding was available. There remains a real expectation that when given appropriate fiscal resources, more offenders can be successful in the future.