A record one in four Kansas public defenders quit last fiscal year, with many blaming high caseloads and low salaries. The Board of Indigents’ Defense Services’ executive director, Pat Scalia, calls the situation “a crisis.”
Scalia asked lawmakers for an additional $498,547 in next year’s budget to fund public defender salaries, saying the money would “get our current staff close” to Missouri salaries.
Currently, Kansas public defenders with 10 or fewer years of experience make a maximum of $59,850 a year. When they reach 20 years of experience, they make $68,665. Chief defenders make $78,750.
Salaries for defenders in Missouri start at $46,992 but increase to more than $70,000 after a few years of experience.