prison | KCUR

prison

Segment 1: How paper airplanes communicate the trials of prison.

A new exhibit from a Kansas City-based artist explores the relationships between inmates and the world outside of prison. Airplanes is currently on display at the Kansas City Public Library.

  • Benjamin Todd Mills, artist and activist

Segment 2, beginning at 17:57: Julia Child is reborn through musical cake-baking.

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.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

In the 1950s, SuEllen Fried got a call asking if she'd like to teach the cha-cha to psychiatric patients at the Osawatomie State Hospital.

She'd danced in St. Louis's Muny Opera as a teen and she'd made plans to move to New York to pursue a career in dance on Broadway. But at the last minute, she fell in love, moved to Kansas City, got married and started a family instead.

Portrait Session With SuEllen Fried

Jan 18, 2019

SuEllen Fried wanted to dance. She never anticipated this passion would lead her to a life of advocacy for child-abuse prevention and prison reform.

By working with patients through dance therapy, she developed a focus on bullying in early childhood. She has co-authored three books on the subject and travels around the nation advocating practical steps in prevention and promoting awareness. This hour-long interview is the latest installment in our Portrait Session series.

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons-Flickr

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is planning to close Crossroads Correctional Facility in Cameron and transfer prisoners to the nearby Western Missouri Correctional Facility.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City entrepreneur Kyle Smith is reporting early success with his effort to help former prisoners build their own businesses.

Smith says he was startled to learn that nearly 43 percent of people on parole in Missouri are unemployed. In February, he launched a business support group called Be the Boss. So far, more than 40 people have attended at least once.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

A state audit of Kansas’s only juvenile corrections facility uncovered allegations of violence between staff members and sexual relationships between workers and the underage inmates.

A survey attempted to reach 229 current and former employees of the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex in Topeka. Only 48 responded.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Richard Jones, who spent nearly 17 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, is getting $1.1 million from the state of Kansas. It’s the first payment made under the state’s new mistaken-conviction statute.

401kcalculator.org / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: In states with no restrictions, prisoners can spend weeks, months or decades separated from the general population.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Worse in Kansas

The foster care load in Kansas is growing faster than the rest of the country. Madeline Fox analyzed fresh national numbers on trends in children put into state custody and found that things are getting worse faster here than elsewhere.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Secretary of Conflict?

It’s a basic conflict baked into most state constitutions: The person who oversees elections also runs for election. So who’s making sure that person, someone with an obvious stake in the outcome of voting, doesn’t somehow fudge the outcome?

Missouri state Rep. Brandon Ellington, wearing a black hoodie and glasses, sits behind a microphone.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: A Kansas City state representative spotlights poor conditions at a Northwest Missouri correctional facility.

Crossroads Correctional facility in Cameron, Missouri, is still recovering from a violent riot on May 12. In the wake of that uprising, which involved more than 200 inmates, the facility was placed on lockdown. The inmates were denied hot meals and family visits for 4 months. Today, we discussed the conditions inmates are still dealing with. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The man who many Democrats thought could go all the way to the Missouri governor's mansion instead will be going to federal prison for more than two years.

Former Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders was sentenced Wednesday to 27 months in prison for a wire fraud conviction in connection with a kickback scheme that netted Sanders at least $40,000.

Segment 1: Regaining the right to vote is a defining moment of reintegration.

The right to vote is a privilege many Americans take for granted. On this episode, we discuss what regaining the right to vote means to formerly incarcerated individuals.

Segment 1: Local man's shares story behind an American prison riot during the Vietnam War.

50 years have passed since a riot occured at a notorious American military prison in Vietnam. A jail to house not enemy fighters, but American soldiers. On this episode, we learn about a Kansas City native's involvement in the uprising and the meaning behind it. 

Segment 1: Is the phrase "white people" becoming taboo?

On this episode, we explore the concept of whiteness as an identity and why some people are uncomfortable with the term.

  • Micah Kubic, author, Freedom, Inc. and Black Political Empowerment
  • Lona Davenport, program coordinator, Division of Diversity and Inclusion at UMKC

Segment 2, beginning at 33:50: How Shakespeare can help prisoners improve their social skills.

Courtesy Kansas Department of Corrections

Several inmates at El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas initiated an uprising Sunday that lasted throughout the early afternoon that resulted in extensive damage to the prison complex.

The American Civil Liberties Union and its Kansas affiliate have filed suit against the Montgomery County Attorney, alleging he failed to follow state law in the use of diversion programs.

The suit was filed Friday with the Kansas Supreme Court, according to a news release from the ACLU. It requests that Montgomery County Attorney Larry Markle be required to create written diversion policies and guidelines; provide written notice of diversion programs to defendants charged in Montgomery County, and hold diversion conferences for defendants offered diversion.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: From 2001 to 2013, more than 1,300 phone calls to attorneys from prisoners at a Leavenworth detention facility were improperly recorded.

Considered a bedrock of the American justice system, KCUR reporting has uncovered what appears to be repeated attorney-client privilege violations at a privately-run detention facility in Leavenworth, Kansas. Today, we discussed the ongoing investigation into the improperly recorded phone calls, some of which were shared with federal prosecutors, and considered the implications of the alleged breaches.

Larry F. Levenson / Innocence Project

Richard Jones spent 17 years in a Kansas prison for a robbery committed by his doppelganger. When he was exonerated and released last June, he had little to his name other than what had been donated by members of the public who had heard his story.

Bigstock

Missouri would join a majority of U.S. states in raising the age someone can be tried as an adult in court to 18 under a bill passed by the legislature this session.

Josie Hoskins seated in the KCUR studio wearing headphones and with a microphone in front of him.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Few infected convicts in Missouri prisons are receiving newer hepatitis C drugs that are more effective, and more expensive.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Joe Watson has lived a troubled life. He had a traumatic childhood, spent years addicted to cocaine and meth and is now serving a 20 year sentence in the Jefferson City Correction Center for second degree murder.

But the 47-year-old Kansas City, Missouri, native was shaken to his core by the death of his friend and fellow inmate Stevie Jimerson from hepatitis C early last year. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A former guard at the Jackson County jail has pleaded guilty to corruption charges for taking a bribe to smuggle cigarettes, cell phones and phone chargers into the downtown jail.

Twenty-six year old Andre Lamonte Dickerson pleaded guilty to two of the four counts against him.

Photo illustration / Kansas News Service

Younger people could carry guns even as local authorities gain new powers to take guns away in some situations. Police videos could become more available and people held in prison wrongfully could expect payments from the state.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

It's already a challenge to run the Jackson County Jail. It's overcrowded and understaffed. Everything from the elevators to the plumbing needs fixing.

Now, add to that, the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) is $1.7 million in arrears for housing state prisoners in the downtown jail, the most owed to any county in the state.

Segment 1: National School Walkout Day.

This morning, students around the country walked out of their classrooms to protest gun violence and to demand action on mass shootings. We hear about what happened in KC and examine whether schools have a role in fostering student activism.

The mere threat of launching debate on Medicaid expansion in Kansas has caged up a measure to suspend, rather than terminate, coverage for people while they’re locked up.

So legislators have created a policy work-around that doles out some extra money with direction to the state healthy agency to keep that coverage waiting for people when they get free.

Statewide criminal registries took off in the 1990s, fueled by crimes against children and a desire to alert people to the presence of sex offenders in their neighborhoods. But some are saying that Kansas’ database has gotten out of hand, that it’s expanded to include too many different types of offenders. So, a debate is beginning about how it might be streamlined.

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