A Topeka lawmaker whose launched a review of sentencing guidelines will now work on keeping convicts who've completed their sentences from going back to prison.
House Speaker Melvin Neufeld today appointed Rep. Joe Patton, R-Topeka, to the Kansas Reentry Policy Council. The council oversees how existing state resources are used to lower recidivism rates. The group studies assistance available to offenders such as housing, substance abuse treatment, mental health care, and family and victim services.
"Rep. Patton’s experience as an attorney as well as his service on the House Judiciary Committee will bring a unique perspective to the council as its members work on sound policy that maintains public safety in our state while restraining the growth of offenders who re-enter the prison system," Neufeld said in a statement.
Patton said he looks forward to serving on the KRPC.
“I believe we must find ways to prevent those who have served their time in prison from reoffending,” Patton said in a statement. “Not only will this re-assimilate them back into society productively but also reduce crime in our state and lessen the pressure on our judicial system.”
Patton represents the 54th House District. He recently convened a town hall meeting to discuss possible changes to state sentencing guidelines. The meetings were prompted by a Shawnee County case where a judge suspended a prison sentence for a sex offender and instead placed him on probation.