Kansas Legislators Urged to Expand Sex Predator Unit

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The state expects to run out of space to treat sexual predators in Larned by 2012, and local officials are pushing a major expansion.

Several officials are urging legislators to approve an expansion costing nearly $90 million. That proposal has been outlined by the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, which operates Larned State Hospital.

The hospital's sexual predator unit houses 168 people. They are former prison inmates who are done serving time for sex offense but have been committed for further treatment because a jury still deems them a danger.

Area officials have told the Legislative Budget Committee that staffing shortages endanger safety at Larned. The Social and Rehabilitation Services proposal includes money for new staff and operations.

Information from: The Wichita Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)