Kansas SAC Assists in Implementation of Justice Reinvestment Initiative
The Kansas Sentencing Commission, which functions as the Kansas SAC, is required by statute to advise the state legislature on sentencing guidelines, including modification and improvement of current guidelines and developing and maintaining a post-implementation monitoring system that allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the guidelines.
Implementation of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative in Kansas resulted in the passage of House Bill 2170 during the last legislative session. This bill calls for numerous changes in sentencing, post-release supervision, and probation practices, which would reduce the population of probation condition violators in Kansas prison. “Quick dips” in local jails and 120- and 180-day graduated sanctions in prison are becoming the norm for technical probation violators.
In the past six months, staff have fielded numerous questions by telephone and email from practitioners related to the bill’s implementation, prompting the Commission to create a special tab on its website dedicated to HB 2170. A seven-city speaking tour by the executive director and staff attorney last September and October allowed the office to further educate stakeholders and listen to their suggestions for improving the legislation. To monitor the implementation of HB 2170, the Commission hired a research analyst to establish post-sentencing tracking tools to collect data on the graduated sanctions, including data from the Community Corrections and Court Services on a monthly basis. In the current legislative session, the Commission is proposing amendments to HB 2170 that include streamlining criminal procedure after sentencing and applying the provisions retroactively to criminal offenses committed prior to July 1, 2013.
The Commission also published several publications in the fall, including FY 2014 Adult Inmate Prison Population Projections, FY 2014 KDOC Inmate Custody Classification Projections, and the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Desk Reference Manual 2013.