Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Secretary Rob Siedlecki
told a legislative panel on Tuesday that, as part of its renewed emphasis on
eliminating fraud and abuse, SRS has begun implementing the Fleeing Felon
program in collaboration with law enforcement agencies in Kansas.
“We are sharing information with
law enforcement agencies to bring fugitive felons to justice,” Secretary
Siedlecki said. “In the coming months, SRS plans to activate this
program in more counties so the law can be systematically enforced, getting
felons off the streets and off of our benefit rolls at the same time.”
Felon program was authorized by the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 but, under
previous administrations, was never put into practice in Kansas. This program
involves matching law enforcement agencies’ felony fugitive files with SRS’
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient records. As a
result, law enforcement officers are able to locate and apprehend fugitives who
also are receiving benefits illegally. Felony incarceration is an automatic
disqualifier for public assistance.
enforcement agencies provide SRS with a monthly list of fugitive felons, persons
for whom felony arrest warrants have been issued. Statewide, several hundred
names per month appear on the lists.
A recent monthly operation using
the standard felon list in one of Kansas’ larger counties achieved a felon cross
match of 95 separate warrants (not individuals) that resulted in an estimated
program cost savings of $74,734 for SRS.
In a special operation in a
mid-sized Kansas county, 19 fleeing felons were identified with warrants
resulting in an estimated program cost savings of $11,793. Another operation in
that same mid-sized county resulted in the discovery of an additional 17 fleeing
felons with outstanding felony warrants. Of those 17, six were found to already
be incarcerated and four others were apprehended and jailed. The SNAP benefits
of those 17 fleeing felons are being terminated, generating additional cost
savings for SRS.