Kansas wants prisons for elderly inmates, drug issues

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December 9, 2019 - 9:40 AM

A panel of criminal justice officials proposed three specialty prisons that are estimated to cost the state $35 million to renovate and build. NOMIN UJIYEDIIN / KANSAS NEWS SERVICE

TOPEKA, Kansas — One solution to Kansas prisons’ woes could come with a $35 million price tag for three new specialty prisons.

The state’s corrections system only treats half of its inmates who struggle with substance abuse. And as some people serve decades-long sentences, the system finds itself home to more elderly prisoners who need special care as they age.

Lawmakers created the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission to address those issues, as well as chronic overcrowding that resulted in hundreds of inmates being sent to a private prison in Arizona earlier this year.

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