Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration recently received assistance from The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, designed to help newly elected governors and their staff assess their juvenile and adult criminal justice systems and identify strategic goals that align with the administration’s vision for public safety.
One of the areas identified for improvement was expanding workforce development projects in Kansas correctional facilities, where the Department of Corrections partners with private businesses to train and employ people who are incarcerated. Governor Kelly visited Kansas companies to learn more about these private-public partnerships and meet face to face with the people participating in these programs.
“As I talk with business leaders around the state, one thing I hear consistently is that we have a workforce shortage in Kansas,” Kelly said. “By partnering with businesses to train incarcerated people in needed skills, we can both help those businesses get the workers they need, and help people who are released to have a stable, good-paying job – which will reduce recidivism rates and improve public safety. It’s a win-win.”
Governor Kelly’s visit to these local businesses was captured as part of the CSG Justice Center’s Face to Face initiative, which encourages elected officials to interact with people who are closest to the corrections system and learn from their stories. Please find Governor Kelly’s video here: https://governor.kansas.gov/face-to-face-kansas-gov-laura-kelly-tours-businesses-to-talk-reentry/
With support from Arnold Ventures, the CSG Justice Center partnered with the National Governors Associations Center for Best Practices, the Correctional Leaders Association, and the National Criminal Justice Association to assess the state’s systemic problems and create a plan to achieve broad criminal justice reform.
In addition to Governor Kelly’s participation in the New Governors Project, she appointed several members to the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission, which addresses systemic problems in the criminal justice system and makes suggestions to help ease prison crowding and reduce recidivism rates. These key areas of focus were identified through the work with the CSG Justice Center and other partners.