Shawnee County Department of Corrections

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Organization Profile

What is the Department of Corrections?

The Department is responsible for the operation of Shawnee County's Adult Detention Center, Corrections Annex, and the Juvenile Detention Center. This includes responsibility for the custody and care of adult and juvenile inmates/residents. The Department ensures that adults and juveniles placed in its custody remain safe and secure until released by proper authority. The Department must also provide appropriate meals, clothing, education, rehabilitation programming, mental health care, and medical care to adult inmates and juvenile residents.

What Is the Department’s Purpose?

County adult and juvenile detention centers have distinctive roles in the criminal justice system. The facilities are responsible for the housing of individuals who have been arrested for violation of city, state, and federal laws. The adult inmates or juvenile residents are housed in the facility while pending further court action, serving a sentence, or waiting for transfer to a state correctional facility. The Shawnee County facilities also house inmates and juveniles for the Federal Marshal and for Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security.

Adult and juvenile detention centers are different than prisons. They are generally for the short-term housing of offenders. The average length of stay for an adult inmate is 10 days; for a juvenile resident it is 31 days. The Adult Detention Center (ADC) receives and processes on average 11,000 adult offenders a year. The Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) receives and processes approximately 700 juvenile offenders each year.

Department History

In May 1978, the Shawnee County Commission decided to pursue funding made available through the Community Corrections Act by adopting Resolution 78-130. This set in motion the creation of a community corrections advisory board for the purpose of developing a comprehensive community corrections plan for Shawnee County.

The advisory board submitted the Shawnee County Community Corrections Plan to the Shawnee County Commission in 1979. The plan set forth several recommendations for programs and services that should be implemented. A major recommendation of the plan was that existing county-based correctional programs and facilities be incorporated into one county department of corrections.

At the time, the Shawnee County Youth Center (detention) was operating under the direction of an executive administrative board that reported to the County Commission. The elected sheriff operated the jail or adult detention center. The Community Corrections Plan also recommended the establishment of a county work release center that would fall under the consolidated department, and community-based correctional supervision programs (intensive probation). The advisory board believed that there would be increased administrative efficiency and program effectiveness if all facilities and programs came under one agency.

In the mid-1970s, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of jail inmates against Shawnee County officials. The suit alleged the jail was overcrowded and was unable to meet the basic constitutional rights of the incarcerated adult inmate population. Interested parties working on these issues for the County recommended that the jail be operated with a correctional philosophy by professional corrections personnel, rather than by law enforcement (the Sheriff's Office). Further, the development of county-based departments of corrections was occurring in several medium to large communities in the nation to provide more stable correctional management of jails and to prevent the natural conflict of interest that exists when the persons that arrest inmates (sheriffs) are also the ones that take custody and care for the inmates. An additional local problem was a very high turnover rate of Sheriff's deputies that were leaving jail operations for community law enforcement duties.

The advisory board recommended creation of the Shawnee County Department of Corrections that included the jail, youth center, the adult work release facility, and the county-based community corrections programs. The County Commission accepted the recommendations, and the Kansas Department of Corrections approved the plan for implementation.

The Shawnee County Department of Corrections (SNDOC) was formally established in October 1980. Immediate initiatives for the new county corrections department included the opening of a county adult work release center at Forbes Field, creation of community-based supervision programs, and development of a transition process for placing existing county adult detention and youth facilities under the management of the Shawnee County Department of Corrections.

The adult work release center became operational in 1981 and a few months later, the Shawnee County Youth Center became a division of the new Department. By May 1981, the Shawnee County Sheriff and the SNDOC had reached an agreement for the transition of the administration of the county jail from the Sheriff's Office to the new corrections department. This agreement was formalized by county resolution, 81-42, on May 28, 1981. The resolution established July 1, 1981 as the date for the transfer of all operations, procedures, and functions of the jail from the Sheriff to the SNDOC.

In May 1983, the District Court issued a consent decree regarding the jail's class action lawsuit that had been previously filed. A part of the agreement was that the County Commission would establish a jail advisory board for the purpose of developing a plan to address the jail's overcrowded conditions. The advisory board recommended the construction of a new adult detention center. Following the approval of the County Commission, a new facility was designed and constructed. The new adult detention center was completed in 1987 at the present site of 501 S.E. 8th Street. The work release facility that had been operating at Forbes Field was moved to the newly constructed adult detention center.

In 1998, the County constructed two additions to the adult detention center, one for additional adult inmates and the other, a new youth facility called the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC). The construction of the new juvenile detention center adjacent to the adult center allowed for more consolidation of services such as food service, accounting/records, laundry, maintenance, and other support services.

In 2000, the County Commission separated Community Corrections from the SNDOC. Community Corrections was the only portion of the Department of Corrections that had not been moved to the 8th Street location. The Shawnee County Department of Corrections continues to manage adult detention, adult work release, and juvenile detention.

Department Capacity

Facility Bed Capacity
Adult Detention Center 507
Shawnee County Annex 200
Juvenile Detention Center 70