In preparation for the 2020 legislative session, there will be a Smart Justice Unity meeting Sat, Dec. 14, 3:30 p.m. Sat., Dec. 14 at Evergreen Public Library, 2601 N Arkansas, Wichita.

Organizers hope to motivate people on three main steps toward Kansas criminal justice reform the group hopes to see advance during the 2020 session: return seized property upon acquittal; ban the “Felony” box on employment applications; and polocies to stop the revolving door of probation.

All citizens, public and private, as well as civic organizations that have had interactions with, or concerns about, the Kansas Criminal Justice system are encouraged to attend. Entertainment, food and children’s activities will be provided. Several speakers are scheduled.

The wider reform agenda includes: Reform probation and parole; Reform civil asset forfeiture laws; Reduce sentences for non-violent drug possession; Standardize and prioritize the use of diversion; Improve re-entry services.

There will also be a Lobby Day in Topeka in January in support of these reforms. For more information on Smart Justice Kansas, visit www.aclukansas.org/en/campaigns/kansans-smart-justice.


As part of the Help 2 Others program, City of Wichita residential water customers can receive a $50 credit on their bill if they qualified for the 2019 Low Income Energy Assistance Program and have verification of being a 2019 LIEAP recipient.

Applications will be accepted until Dec. 31 or until funds run out. The Center of Hope is administering the program for the city. Residents should apply for assistance in person at Neighborhood Resource Centers or the city’s Public Works Department at city hall. Households that have already received assistance from the H2O program this year will not be eligible for the supplemental program. For more info, call the Center of Hope at 316-267-0222.


Can your criminal record really be expunged? This is the question that the Access to Justice Lab at Harvard Law School has partnered up with Kansas Legal Services to find out. They’ve launched a study exploring the effectiveness of criminal record clearing on a person’s ability to find housing and employment in Kansas.

Through the study of these questions they may be able to establish evidence that the existence of a criminal record is a severe barrier to a successful re-entry strategy for justice-involved individuals. Participants in the study are linked with free, local legal services to aid in the record clearing process

Individuals who are interested in participating should contact Kansas Legal Services at 1-800-723-6953 or KansasLegalServices.org for info on the eligibility process. Partners will screen for eligibility and direct participants to the appropriate representative to handle their specific case.

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