The good news is that Sedgwick County, area legislators and state officials are talking about the future of the Judge James V. Riddel Boys Ranch near Lake Afton. The bad news, at least as reported after a meeting last week, is that the prospects for additional state funding look bleak. Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts questioned the amount spent on staffing, pointed to a surplus of bed space for juvenile offenders elsewhere, and said if he increases state funding for the ranch he’d have to do so for other programs. If the ranch is worth saving – and it is, saving the county more than $1 million a year by deterring crime, according to one study – the case can and must be made to the Brownback administration and the full Legislature that it isn’t just another juvenile justice program and merits extra dollars for the long term.
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