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Kansas prisons get more money; provisions worry officials

Governor Laura Kelly and Republican legislators agreed that the Kansas prison system needed funds to boost employees’ pay, deal with inmate crowding and address other problems.  They also agreed on a figure of almost $36 million.

However, the Department of Corrections, Kelly and fellow Democrats are unhappy because of strings Republican legislators attached to the new funds.  One provision blocks a plan to temporarily close a cell house at a maximum-security prison for men because of staffing problems there.  Interim Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz said another provision could thwart the department’s plans to create new space for female inmates, and legislative leaders must sign off on how the prison system spends much of the money.

Republicans argue the oversight is needed because of the size of the spending increase.

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