Is Kansas program treating sexual predators or making them worse?
7:37 PM, Nov 3, 2010
9:23 AM, Nov 4, 2010
KANSAS CITY, Missouri - They are sexual predators convicted of preying on women and
children. The State of Kansas considers them so dangerous; the
convicts cannot go home without years of psychotherapy.
The Kansas sexual predator treatment program has a $14 million
dollar budget. It’s money that safety net programs envy.
However, those benefiting from the program’s treatment could
not care less.
“I don’t think I could ever be around children
anymore,” Brull said. “I’m not sure of myself.
They’ve turned children into a sexual thing for me that
wasn’t there before.”
Convicted and sentenced of soliciting a child for sex in 1997.
Brull spent two years in Kansas prisons. When released, he was
forced to live at Larned State Hospital, in Larned, Kansas.
Brull committed one of 13 crimes labeled “sexually
a state law passed in 1994. It allows judges
to sentence offenders like Brull to civil commitments after time
In Kansas, all of those “patients” move into Larned
for the sexual predator treatment program.
“No New Victims” Despite the barbed wire and security cameras surrounding
buildings housing the SPTP, the agency running the program said it
is simple a secure therapy center.
Ray Dalton is Deputy Secretary for Kansas Social and
Rehabilitative Services, the agency in charge.
“One of our primary missions is no new victims,”
Few get out
By “no new victims” Dalton means patients never
re-offend. However, few ever get out.
Since the program’s genesis 16 years ago, only two people
have earned final release, according to state records. 16 people
earned conditional release or were released by a state judge for
other reasons. 15 others died in the program.
The SPTP program is near capacity at Larned with 197 patients.
The population grows every year.
Taxpayers are spending roughly $69,000 a year per patient,
according to state officials. That’s more than double the
cost of prison inmates. However, that price is cheap compared to
other states like Missouri, where taxpayers spend $98,915 per
“If we’re going to continue with the philosophy of
no new victims, it just needs to continue to receive the resources
it needs to continue the work that it is doing,” Dalton
“You never get your issues addressed,” Brull
Brull claims there is no treatment at Larned. Instead, he said
patients get exposed to unthinkable perversion.
“It’s a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah and it’s
awful,” Brull said. “The staff has allowed in child
pornography, child nudist films; I’ve sat in conversations in
group where there have been discussions of bestiality.”
SRS is leery of Brull’s claims, but they admit
George Dudley escape
In August, a Larned patient named George Dudley escaped during a
visit to the Wyandotte County Courthouse. Surveillance video showed
Dudley was unrestrained. Larned staff members who were supposed to
be guarding him left Dudley alone in a hallway. He walked away and
was on the run for nearly 24 hours before capture.
“We’ve reviewed that and are taking actions to
prevent that from happening again in the future,” Dalton
Though caught hours later, Dudley’s escape drew criticism
of Larned security. Wyandotte County’s jail administrator
said Larned staff brought four patients to Wyandotte County the day
Dudley escaped. Not all of those patients were restrained, meaning
some were bigger flight risks than others.
“I’m not really sure what their policies and
procedures are, but they (Larned staff) were mixing custody grades
it looks like,” said Jeffery Fewell, Jail Administrator for
Group: It’s not treatment
Some mental health advocates with Mental Health America remain
critical of Kansas and other states with similar sexual predator
“It does, in the short term, divert resources, state
general funds from community-based mental health services,”
said Susan Crain Lewis, director of Mental Health America of the
However, Crain Lewis personally believes Kansas’ program
needs more time to prove its worth.
“I understand why folks would say, oh, only two people
have come out,” Crain Lewis said. “Well, the program is
a long-term program. It would be like starting a 12-year charter
school today with a fresh bunch of kids and being really upset in
two years that no one had graduated from high school.”