Cowley County Community Corrections operates the Community Corrections Act programs in the 19th Judicial District of Kansas. Cowley County is located in south central Kansas on the Oklahoma border and within one-hour drive of Wichita. Cowley County encompasses 1,126 square miles with a total population of 36,204 (estimated) per the 2013 census. Winfield, the County Seat, is the largest city within the county with a total population of 12,365 and Arkansas City is the second largest city with a population of 12,340. The 19th Judicial District operates two separate Courts, one in Winfield and one in Arkansas City.
Cowley County Community Corrections provides two basic components for the Courts’ consideration at the time of sentencing. The first is intermediate level sanctioning and supervision options in sentencing felony offenders to the Adult Intensive Supervision Program (AISP) versus prison sentences. The second is the Cowley County Drug Court Program, which was implemented at the end of FY09. In collaboration with the District Court, offenders convicted under the provisions of SB123 that have a High LSI-R and SASSI score, are considered for the program. If the offender shows the need for a treatment that includes a high level of structure and is highly intensive, they will be placed in the program. Certain non-SB123 offenders are potentially considered for assignment to the Drug Court if the sentencing Judge refers them for evaluation to the program. Collaboration and partnerships with local providers has enhanced service delivery and increased accountability of our offenders. We feel the implementation of this program has greatly increased the chances of our drug related offenders to be successful as well as increased public safety.
While it has not happened yet, the closing of the agency operated Drug/Alcohol Treatment Program, will have a negative impact on our agency (see Community Corrections News). Having an in-house treatment program has been extremely beneficial to the agency. We have almost instantaneous communication with the treatment provider, and many times the officer, offender, and counselor are able to sit down together and work through or address issues immediately. The Drug/Alcohol Treatment Program is scheduled to officially close on June 15, 2016.
We will again be targeting those offenders with Very High to High LSI-R levels. This has proven to be the correct course of action, evidenced by our continued ability to meet or exceed our State mandated 75% success rate. As of April 2016, Cowley County Community Corrections has a KDOC success rate of 89%. We are attempting to gather more data as to why the population that being revoked is ending up that way. We are in the process of compiling that data to try to gain an understanding as to why it is happening, and then begin the process of determining what we need to do to change the results. The agency is utilizing the JRI Quick Dip Sanctions, as well as the JRI Prison Sanctions, when appropriate. Initial data shows that in the majority of revocations for Fiscal Year 2016, the offender absconded from supervision. We will continue to evaluate why these offenders absconded and attempt to determine what, if anything, we can do to change this behavior. Substance abuse continues to be a serious issue in our community, and we will continue to make it a priority, and when applicable, utilize our Drug Court as a tool to address this matter.