The Wichita Eagle
State prison officials last week were dealing with $9.3 million in looming budget cuts by making plans to close two major prisons and stop supervising 5,800 parolees.
Those officials will return to work this week with a less daunting task -- trimming a more manageable $2.7 million from the Kansas Department of Corrections budget.
Corrections spokesman Bill Miskell said it appears that the prisons in Norton and Winfield will survive, as will the state parole system.
"We are still working on final decision, but we are hopeful at this point that we can meet a $2.7 million reduction without closing a major facility, and retaining the bulk of parole and post-release supervision" operations, he said.
The Kansas Legislature has been debating a bill that will determine how the state will deal with its budget deficit. Corrections accounts for about 2 percent of the state budget, Miskell said.
A plan approved Friday by a House committee would require corrections officials to cut 1 percent from their current operating budget -- less than the 3.4 percent that was specified in an earlier version of the bill.
After that 3.4 percent figure emerged early last week, corrections officials warned employees that the proposed cuts could force the department to close prisons in Winfield and Norton and shut down the state's parole system. About a fourth of state parolees are supervised by the Wichita parole office.