FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2021
CONTACT: Mark McCormick, Director of Strategic Communications, 913-490-4113, [email protected]
OVERLAND PARK, KS - The Kansas Department of Corrections today released Christopher McIntyre, a 47-year-old man battling stage four cancer in multiple parts of his body, from the Lansing Correctional Facility into the care of his family in Wichita.
McIntyre is one of 105 ACLU of Kansas clients requesting a form of executive clemency – an umbrella term that includes pardons and commutations – from Gov. Laura Kelly. For 18 of those 105 clients, the ACLU of Kansas also submitted an application for release due to “functional incapacitation” – a process administered by KDOC that allows for the early release of people who are suffering from a medical or mental health condition so severe that it renders the person incapable of posing a threat to public safety if released. Late last week, KDOC granted McIntyre’s petition for release due to his functional incapacitation.
Such releases are rare, and it took a concerted effort from his family and the ACLU of Kansas to initiate the process, which is opaque and without timelines – which hardly seems to address the needs of someone with a terminal condition.
Whatever the form of release, McIntyre’s family was elated to have him home.
“We have prayed for this day since he was sentenced and we sent up more prayers after learning how sick he was,” said his sister, Alesia McIntyre. “We’re grateful to the Kansas Department of Corrections for this measure of mercy extended to my brother and to our family.”
ACLU Legal Director Sharon Brett emphasized that McIntyre’s case was emblematic of why clemency, and executive power, increasingly should be used as a tool to correct injustice.
“Injustice can take different forms, whether it was the injustice of the original sentence, or in Christopher’s case, the injustice of keeping people incarcerated. Clemency is not about who you were, but about what you’re now deserving of. Our clients are far more than their convictions.”
Brett said the ACLU of Kansas’ clemency clients have demonstrated a real effort at rehabilitation. Many previously qualified for work release, and demonstrated that they are capable of living and working in the community.
McIntyre, a father of five, completed a business management diploma from Stratford Career Institute while incarcerated, and worked jobs requiring a security clearance.
He learned months ago that his condition was terminal. He’d dropped more than 50 pounds and had been experiencing nausea and weakness. He’s unsteady on his feet and sometimes uses a wheelchair.
“What good does continuing to imprison Chris and people like him, do for the community?” Brett asked.
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About the ACLU of Kansas: The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For more information, visit our website at www.aclukansas.org.