Kansas Will Soon Need More Prison Space... But Not Yet

Empty prison cell
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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts isn't yet pushing legislators to expand the state's prison system, but he is warning that they'll eventually confront a need to find new space for inmates.

Roberts told the Senate Ways and Means Committee at a hearing Tuesday the state expects its prisons to be at full capacity by July 2016.

Roberts said lawmakers will then have to decide whether to add new space, put inmates in private prisons or send some of them to county jails. The Department of Corrections already has drafted proposals for expanding the maximum-security prison outside El Dorado.

But Roberts said a decision on an expansion can wait until next year.

Tuesday's hearing focused on Gov. Sam Brownback's budget proposals for prisons.