Corrections | KCUR

Corrections

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Segment 1: Public defenders are calling prisons during pandemic ticking time bombs

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 scare, individual correctional facilities in Kansas and Missouri have decided to release certain prisoners, but public defenders and advocates say a statewide approach is needed to avoid a crisis behind bars.

Matthew Ansley / Unsplash

Segment 1: Public defenders are calling prisons during pandemic ticking time bombs

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 scare, individual correctional facilities in Kansas and Missouri have decided to release certain prisoners, but public defenders and advocates say a statewide approach is needed to avoid a crisis behind bars.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says that without focusing on basic city services in 2020, any goodwill that’s been built up means nothing.

Segment 1: Germany's prisons emphasize rehabilitation and resocialization for their inmates.

Germany is doing a lot of things differently than the U.S. when it comes to criminal justice, and they've got a lower inceration rate to show for it. In prisons there, staff are trained in things like psychology and communication, and they're paid just as much as police officers. This is all to promote a reintegration approach, which focuses on returning inmates back into their communities. 

Nicole Bissey / Nicole Bissey Photography

Performer Christopher Barksdale has given it a lot of thought, and has come to the conclusion that it's quite possible Jesus lived in a "cancel culture" just like we do. 

Mark Davis / KCUR 89.3

As a teenager, Vince Sanders watched his father go to prison. He dropped out of school and ended up serving time himself.

It makes an unlikely history for the 55-year-old founder of a fast-growing retail chain who owes his fall and rise to the cannabis plant.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Missouri law severely limits Kansas City’s gun-control powers. But three rookie city council members say there’s still a lot the city can do to combat its violent crime crisis.

Prairie Fire Development Group

Addressing Kansas City’s shortage of affordable housing options was a main tenet of Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas’ campaign. On Monday, Lucas is set to announce a new affordable housing project geared specifically toward families who have survived domestic violence.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA — One of the United States’ largest and oldest private prison companies will house up to 600 Kansas inmates in a facility in Eloy, Arizona.

CoreCivic, formerly known as the Corrections Corporation of America, owns and operates 129 prisons, immigration detention centers and other facilities in more than 20 states, including the Leavenworth Detention Center. Its revenues total more than $1 billion a year.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

In baseball circles, the St. Louis Cardinals organization is known for its so-called “The Cardinal Way,” a manual of sorts that players and managers adhere to in the quest for consistency. 

Since August 2018, Missouri state government has been teaching “The Missouri Way,” a leadership training program that’s already indoctrinated more than 1,000 employees from the 16 executive departments. Statewide-elected officials like the secretary of state, auditor and attorney general are not required to take the training, and neither is their staff. 

Segment 1: Two years after Kansas prison riots, facilities are still overcrowded and understaffed.

In 2017 riots broke out in Kansas prisons highlighting the understaffed and overcrowded conditions that exist there. State lawmakers said those conditions still exist and even with the steps taken in the latest session to correct them there is still a long way to go.

BNIM and HOK

A new office tower and parking garage may be on the way to the Power & Light District after the Kansas City Council's Finance and Governance Committee passed a development financing agreement.

Truman Library Institute

The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence will shut its doors on July 23 and remain closed for approximately one year while it undergoes a multimillion-dollar expansion and renovation. Its last day open to the public will be Monday, July 22.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Chants of "we need support" broke out on the steps of the Jackson County courthouse Wednesday as dozens of attorneys rallied against what they consider sexist security protocol at the county jail. 

Barbara Shelly / KCUR 89.3

Updated at 6:30 p.m. June 6, 2019, with terms of the superintendent's buyout — The Center School District must pay more than $400,000 to buy out the contract of former superintendent Sharon Nibbelink.

Katie Moore / Kansas City Star

This story has been updated and clarified with quotes from Presiding Judge David Byrn from the court transcript.

New security measures at the Jackson County Detention Center are causing some controversy after female attorneys complained they are required to remove their underwire bras in order to enter. 

In a tweet Monday, Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forté called this "misinformation," saying that "no one was asked to take off underwire bras."

Jobs For Felons Hub / CC BY 2.0

Kansas may soon turn to private contractors to take the overflow from its crowded prisons, raising questions about growing costs and the reliability of for-profit jails.

That plan ran into complications over the weekend when lawmakers insisted on a closer review from a state commission to OK some of the line-by-line spending. But taxpayers could soon be spending almost $36 million more to deal with a range of problems in the prison system.

Eric Borden

A construction worker from Drexel, Missouri, is using poetry to positively affect the perception of blue-collar trades.

Eric Borden's poem "Ditch Diggers" is up front about the negative perception he’s battling:

You say the world needs ditch diggers,
that statement's true enough.
But if you're saying it because you think you're better than us,
then with you've I've got a grudge.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Kansas City Democrat DaRon McGee resigned from his seat in the Missouri House on Monday night following allegations that he sought an unwanted relationship with an employee in his office for at least 10 months.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The Latino community in Belton, Missouri, once a military and farming community, is growing.

Today, almost 10 percent of Belton’s 24,000 residents are Latino, with that number rising to about 18 percent in the Belton School District. And they have mixed reports about how included they feel in the community. Some believe non-Latinos are uncomfortable with demographic changes.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

When Kansas City Neighborhood Academy opened in 2016 with the district as its sponsor, it was supposed to start a new era of cooperation between the Kansas City Public Schools and charter schools.

Since 1999, they’d been in a fierce competition for students and resources. Now KCPS was sponsoring a charter. With support from the Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City Neighborhood Academy would be a model for what urban education could be.

But the charter ended up a neighborhood school without a neighborhood.

Automatic glass doors with placards announcing location is a polling place and no electioneering within 25 feet.
Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Research from a California-based nonprofit finds Missouri voters are often kept in the dark about campaign spending.

The report from Maplight found independent groups spent $15 million to influence the 2018 state elections in Missouri. It also found that more than 10% of independent spending in candidate races, and more than 35% of spending in campaigns for ballot measures came from groups that are not required by law to disclose their sources of funding.

New York Yankees

Major League Baseball is staring down a gender problem. And despite initiatives meant to bring more women into its dugouts, executive offices and broadcast booths, everyone — including women in high-powered positions — says things won’t change quickly.

“Look, I think there’s no sugar-coating this. There’s a lot to do,” said Renee Tirado, MLB’s chief diversity officer.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The next mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, will be either Jolie Justus or Quinton Lucas.

Out of 11 candidates, those two garnered enough votes Tuesday to advance to the June 18 general election. The final unofficial totals had Justus with 11,926 votes and Lucas with 9,820. Mayor Sly James is term-limited and cannot run again.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

As Kansas City council members get ready to approve a new budget, the city finds itself with a couple of million dollars more than expected.

City budget officer Scott Huizenga told the Finance and Governance Committee Wednesday that the city has about $2.5 million extra coming in this fiscal year.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Updated 5:30 p.m. March 16 to correct headline, characterization of investigation  Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill is involved in an investigation into an alleged assault on a juvenile at his home. 

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Hunter Defenbaugh loves working in prison.

Five nights a week, the 19-year-old corrections officer works overnight shifts in the infirmary at El Dorado Correctional Facility 30 miles northeast of Wichita. He checks on sick inmates, gives them blankets, calls nurses for help.

Defenbaugh likes the job, he says, because he likes helping people. It beats his old gigs flipping burgers at McDonald’s or ringing up customers at Walmart.

File photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas prisons spend almost four times as much on overtime pay as they did six years ago. 

The state paid out more than $8.2 million on overtime in fiscal year 2018 and is on track to spend even more in 2019, with overtime exceeding $5 million in just the first half of the fiscal year.

That’s compared to fiscal year 2013, when the state paid out just $1.8 million in overtime.

Leavenworth's mayor, Jermaine Wilson, is uniquely positioned to, as he puts it, bring voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless. The new mayor was once a convicted felon.

His swearing-in on January 8, he said, felt as if he was living in a dream.

"And I know God gave me another chance. And to see that the people gave me another chance … I was just overwhelmed with unexplainable joy," Wilson told KCUR's Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

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