Kansas overhauling post-prison treatment of sex offenders

Jail bars (KSN File Photo)
Jail bars (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas is overhauling a program that confines sex offenders indefinitely for post-prison mental health treatment.

The changes to be rolled out this month follow a federal lawsuit, a critical legislative audit and legal challenges to similar programs in other states.

Officials at the Larned State Hospital program said treatment will become more structured, personalized and focused on changing behavior that could cause patients to commit new crimes. They also said patients will be allowed a greater number of short, supervised community visits.

Advocates for the 264 men committed by state courts to the program said they’re encouraged by the promised changes but remain concerned about staffing issues at the western Kansas hospital.

Twenty-five patients filed a federal lawsuit in October 2014 and a critical legislative audit followed last year.