No matter how much we want to see our government actually be good stewards of our tax dollars, there are always vast bureaucracies and politicians who have to do something that makes no sense.

I was reading the other day about the state making the decision to tear down two minimum security camps that have been closed. One is near Toronto Lake. I used to see the buildings when we used to fish and camp at Toronto. We used to love going to the heated fishing dock and having the owner who gave reports on KFDI radio every week about the fishing there. When we got there the fishing was usually not that good and the story was that “the lake turned over yesterday.” It became a joke to us over the years.

The State of Kansas has a real problem with housing prisoners. So much so that there is a proposed huge privately owned prison to be built. From what I hear from families who have people incarcerated in privately owned prisons in other states, the treatment of prisoners is very abusive.  Prison should not be a good time but abusive is going too far.

Kansas State Parks and Wildlife areas are being neglected and underfunded state wide. At one time minimum risk prisoners would be used for maintenance of these areas and other places. These two camps were a way to get prisoners away from the big institutions and have a place to work off some of their time and not be setting around major felons learning the trade of mass mayhem.

But the wisdom in Topeka is that these programs that were cost effective, and actually gave inmates a way to be outside and productive, was shut down. You will see some prisoners picking up trash on the side of the highways but this is about all of the crews that do get out and do something.

The two camps in question have been allowed to deteriorate. This is an abuse of the taxpayer trust. Now the question is that is it better to fix up the buildings and not use them or tear them down?

The bigger question is what is the mindset of officials who waste taxpayers money and lose the chance to improve peoples lives who are committed to the penal system? Why do underfunded state owned properties be placed in a state of deterioration because of tight budgets be allowed to go on? Why is the useful and productive time of an incarcerated individual be allowed to go on not being used?

There is much sentiment against placing offenders that are non violent in a system that is full of violent offenders. Why is out of the box thinking not allowed in the halls of our government?

The huge amount of the State budget is allocated for schools which means that all other functions of the state government have to get by with less. Why are properties allowed to set unused? Why is there no utilization of programs that have worked in the past? Why are politicians so narrowed focused on their work? Why are you not demanding smarter spending of your tax dollar?

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