WICHITA, Kan. – – We are now less than a month away from the election.
Tonight, legislative candidates from Sedgwick County made up a panel, talking about the state’s criminal justice system.
Several Senate and House candidates spoke to the crowd, of about a hundred people, voicing their thoughts on reforming the current criminal justice system in Kansas.
According to smartjusticekansas.org, the state’s crime rate has consistently decreased, but the prison population has gone up.
The group cited numbers, saying the Kansas prison population has quadrupled from 2,300 in 1978, to 9,700 in 2014.
It’s something both Republican and Democratic candidates touted as a problem.
Another issue that was brought up was that the state currently doesn’t do enough to prepare prisoners for life after prison.
Republican Jim Price and Democrat Lynn Rogers were a part of the Senate panel.
Both Price and Rogers are running for the Senate District 25 seat.
That seat is vacant after incumbent Sen. Michael O’Donnell chose not to run for re-election.
Both Price and Rogers agree changes need to be made.
“Why don’t we look to the churches and the charities and the organizations that are already here and say hey, can you help us out, can you help us get these guys, either keep them out of trouble or when they get back, lets get them back into society where they belong,” said Price.
It’s something that Rogers doesn’t necessarily agree is the right solution.
“My opponent made a big point that our community needs to come together to fix this and we do, but the problem is bigger than charities and churches,there is a role that the state has to play and we need to do things better, because the cost falls on the state,” said Rogers.
The event was sponsored by Kansans for Smart Justice.
They held a series of candidate forums across the state in the past month, all focused on smart justice reform.