Topeka May Decriminalize Domestic Violence to Save Money

Facing budget crunches, many states and cities have laid off teachers, slashed Medicaid funding and stopped paving roads, but the city council of Topeka, Kansas is going one step further. They are considering repealing a law banning domestic violence because some say the cost of prosecuting those cases is too high.

Last month, the Shawnee County District Attorney’s office, facing a 10% budget cut, announced that the county would no longer be prosecuting misdemeanors, including domestic violence cases.

The cases were suddenly dumped on Topeka, and lacking money, the Topeka city council is now considering repealing the part of the city code that bans domestic battery.

Since Shawnee County stopped prosecuting these crimes on September 8th, it has turned back 30 domestic violence cases. 16 people were arrested for misdemeanor domestic vioelnce, but then released from the county jail after charges weren’t filed.

Becky Dickinson of the Topeka YWCA, which helps battered women, said: “Letting abusive partners out of jail with no consequences puts victims in incredibly dangerous positions. The abuser will often become more violent in an attempt to regain control.”

The city council is expected to make its decision on decriminalizing domestic violence next week.


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