Government & Politics

Legislators start audit of prison sex

TOPEKA — Legislators have initiated their own audit of Kansas' corrections system because of allegations of widespread sex between staff members and inmates at the state's women's prison.

Barb Hinton, who leads the Legislature's auditing division, told the Topeka Capital-Journal that her department hopes to summarize its findings in a report early next year, so that lawmakers can decide whether Kansas' laws pertaining to sex between prison staff and inmates are sufficient.

Gov. Mark Parkinson has called for an outside review of the prison system.

The Capital-Journal has reported that inmates and staff at the Topeka Correctional Facility said as many as one-third of the prison's 250 employees have been involved in an illegal black market that includes exchanging drugs for sex with female inmates. The prison has about 550 inmates.

The reports focused on the case of a former vocational instructor at the prison who pleaded guilty last year to trafficking in contraband and having sex with a female inmate, which is illegal for a prison employee under Kansas law. He was sentenced to two years probation.

Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, said lawmakers should consider whether laws need to be rewritten so that someone convicted of having sex with an inmate can't receive probation.

Last week, Parkinson asked the federal National Institute of Corrections for help in finding an expert to conduct an outside review.