Task force to hear from sex predators’ family members

KHI News Service

TOPEKA — A task force charged with reforming the state’s Sexual Predator Treatment Program at Larned State Hospital is scheduled to hear testimony Monday from relatives of men confined at the facility.

The task force is scheduled to meet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kansas Department for Children and Families Learning Center

Created in 1994, the Sexual Predator Treatment Program was designed to block the release of people who had committed  sex crimes and completed their prison sentences.

Though the program is supposed to be rehabilitative, few of the men in it have improved enough to win release.

According to state reports, more than 250 patients have entered the program in the last 18 years. Only four have been released. At least 16 have died while being held for treatment.

“No one is getting out. That’s the problem,” said Rick Cagan, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Kansas and a member of the task force.

“A lot of frustration built up over the years because the program isn’t constructive, it’s punitive. And from the residents’ and family members’ point of view, getting sent there is a life sentence. It’s not a quality program.”

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