Law enforcement, community advocates say local criminal justice reform is crucial

Local News

Crime in Kansas is going down, but it’s prison population is going up. Local law enforcement and community advocates got together to talk about ways to change that on Tuesday night.

A group got together at the Topeka and Shawnee County Library to have a panel on criminal justice.    

They talked about problems in the justice system like lack of resources for corrections, racial profiling in policing, and preventing serial offenders. They also talked about the changes they’re making to address those issues.

For example, the Shawnee County Department of Corrections gets more money than any other agency in the county. But, Director Brian Cole said they’re still dangerously understaffed and lacking the funding they need to keep the community safe.

Law enforcement leaders say progress starts with discussions like the one they had tonight.

“I think theres a lot of information that we have. We need to really sit down and really vet out what the problems are here, listen to the public on where we see these problems and how we can make some serious changes to policy and our budget,” Cole said.

Community advocates said that for the average person who wants to help, the best thing they can do is talk to their lawmakers and reach out to their district attorney. 

The Kansas chapter of the ACLU is hosting a lobbying day on Valentine’s Day. They’re meeting with lawmakers to discuss criminal justice reforms. If you want to find out more go here.

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