Kansas Official Seeks to Save Funds to Treat Drug Offenders

The Kansas Sentencing Commission’s executive director worries that looming budget problems will pressure the state into cutting funding to treat drug offenders and divert them from prison.

Executive Director Scott Schultz told a legislative committee Tuesday that first- and second-time drug offenders who complete treatment programs are far less likely to have another conviction. He said the state also can save nearly $21,000 per offender per year by not putting them in prison.

Schultz said he’s worried about preserving the nearly $6.6 million a year in funding because of the state’s budget situation. State officials and university economists are expected Friday to issue a new, more pessimistic forecast for state revenues.

Spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration has not made any firm decisions about budget issues.