Kansas Pardon and Parole Laws
In Kansas, the provisions regarding pardon and parole are provided under K.S.A. § 20-2301 through § 20-2313, K.S.A. § 22-3701 through § 22-3722, K.S.A. § 75-5212 through § 75-5216, and Kan. Const. Art. 1, § 7. Pursuant to K.S.A. § 20-2301, in any judicial district in Kansas the district judges can create a Board of Paroles (“Board”). Normally, the Board will consist of the district judges of the district. Pursuant to K.S.A. § 22-3707, the Board will consist of three members appointed by the governor. However, the appointments will be subject to confirmation by the senate. No person shall exercise any power, duty, or function as a member of the Board until confirmed by the senate.
Duties of the Board
K.S.A. § 20-2302 states that the Board will have the power to make all needed rules and regulations concerning terms and conditions of parole and applications for parole. There is no need for any formal or technical form of application. The Board so constituted can hold regular meetings at such times as its members consider necessary. All records, hearings, and proceedings of the Board will be public and open to inspection of the public. The time, place, and manner of meetings will be fixed from time to time by a majority of the members of said Board.
The Board will succeed to and have and exercise the same powers of parole. The Board will be subject to the same regulations as trial courts are endowed with and provided by the laws of Kansas[i]. K.S.A. § 20-2304 states that it will be the duty of the Board to keep a record of persons paroled, their whereabouts, occupation and conduct, and a record of the final discharge of such persons upon parole, or the revocation of any parole and the reason for revocation.
Grounds for release on Parole
K.S.A. § 21-4611 provides that the district court having jurisdiction of the offender can allot parole for any misdemeanant sentenced to confinement in the county jail. The period of such parole will be fixed by the court and will not exceed two years. Pursuant to K.S.A. § 21-4612 any person confined in jail under judgment of conviction before a district magistrate judge can be paroled.
Conditions for Parole
Upon release from the institution, the offender should report to the assigned parole officer and follow his/her instructions in reporting on a regular basis. The officer should be continuously informed of the offender’s residence and employment. The offender should not illegally possess firearms, ammunition or explosive devises, or any narcotics or other drugs. The offender should not have any contact with the victim. The offender should abide by the special conditions put forward, and comply with instructions that are given or conditions imposed by the offender’s parole officer from time to time as may be governed by the special requirements of the offender’s situation.
Pursuant to K.S.A. § 22-3722, the period served on parole will be deemed service of the term of confinement. The total time served should not exceed the post-release supervision period established at sentencing.
Authority of the Board
K.S.A. § 22-3722 provides that when an inmate on parole has performed the obligations of the release for such time as satisfies the Board that final release is not incompatible with the best interest of society and the welfare of the individual, the Board will make a final order of discharge and issue a certificate of discharge to the inmate. However, no such order of discharge will be made in any case within a period of less than one year after the date of release except where the sentence expires earlier. When an inmate has reached the end of the post release supervision period, the Board can issue a certificate of discharge to the person. Such discharge will have the effect of restoring all civil rights lost by operation of law upon commitment and the certification of discharge shall so state. The governor will have the power to grant a pardon or commutation of sentence in any case.
Pursuant to K.S.A. § 75-5214, the secretary of corrections can appoint parole officers in a number sufficient to administer the provisions of this act. Parole officers appointed by the secretary of corrections will have and exercise police powers to the same extent as other law enforcement officers and such powers may be exercised by them anywhere within the state. The secretary may utilize the volunteer services of, any qualified individual, partnership, corporation or organization; any agency of the state; the U.S.; or any political subdivision of the state. Volunteer or contract parole officers will have the same powers and duties as parole officers employed by the secretary, except that they shall not be deemed to be law enforcement officers or have law enforcement powers.
K.S.A. § 75-5216 states that parole officers should investigate all persons referred to them for investigation by the secretary of corrections. Parole officers should furnish to each person released under their supervision a written statement of the conditions of parole and shall give instructions regarding these conditions. Parole officers should keep informed of the conduct and condition of a parolee and use all suitable methods to aid, encourage, and bring about improvement in the conduct and condition of such parolee. Parole officers should keep detailed records of their work and should make such reports in writing and perform such other duties as may be incidental to those above enumerated or as the secretary requires. Parole officers should coordinate their work with that of social welfare agencies.
Pursuant to Kan. Const. Art. 1, § 7 the pardoning power will vest in the governor, under regulations and restrictions prescribed by law. K.S.A. § 22-3701 provides that the governor can pardon any person convicted of a crime in any court of Kansas upon certain terms and conditions as prescribed in the order granting the pardon. The Board can adopt rules and regulations governing the procedure for initiating, processing, and reviewing applications for pardon, or commutation of sentence filed by and on behalf of persons convicted of crime. However, no pardon should be granted until more than 30 days after written notice of the application has been given to persons such as[ii]:
- the prosecuting attorney and the judge of the court in which the defendant was convicted; and
- any victim of the person’s crime or the victim’s family.
Pursuant to K.S.A. § 22-3701 all applications for pardon should be referred to the Board. The Board should examine each case and submit a report, together with such information as the Board has concerning the applicant, to the governor within 120 days after referral to the Board. The governor should not grant or deny any such application until the governor has received the report of the Board or until 120 days after the referral to the Board.
K.S.A. § 22-3702 provides that a pardon should be in writing, signed by the governor, attested by the great seal of the state. It will be authority for the release and discharge of the person named.
Pursuant to K.S.A. § 22-3703, the governor at each regular session of the legislature should communicate to both houses of the legislature a list of all persons pardoned by him/her during the preceding year, with a statement of the offense of which each was convicted, the time of imprisonment or amount of fine, and the condition, if any, upon which such pardon was granted.
[i] K.S.A. § 20-2303.
[ii] K.S.A. § 22-3701.