The opinion of the court was delivered by
At issue in this appeal is the termination date of district
court jurisdiction over the Shawnee County Jail; we must decide
whether the district court retains jurisdiction over the Shawnee
County jail after April 1, 1989. The case presents legal
relating to consent judgments (decrees), jurisdiction, and
The Shawnee County Commissioners and the Kansas Secretary of
Corrections appeal from the district court's denial of their
motion to confirm the end of the district court's jurisdiction.
The trial judge reasoned that district court jurisdiction
continued. We reach the opposite conclusion and reverse the
This case originated as two separate habeas corpus actions
filed in 1974 by the plaintiffs, Winslow Beaver and Kenneth E.
Goodman, inmates of the Shawnee County Jail. Beaver and Goodman
challenged the conditions of their confinement. The Legal Aid
Society of Topeka was assigned to represent them.
Beaver and Goodman subsequently filed a new petition in which
they purported to represent all past, present, and future inmates
as a class pursuant to K.S.A. 60-223. The petition sought
declaratory and injunctive relief. The district court initially
dismissed the action, finding that it did not have subject matter
jurisdiction. The district court reasoned that because Beaver and
Goodman were no longer in jail they could not represent the class
and that the nature of the action was such that it could not be
certified as a class action. The dismissal was reversed by the
Kansas Court of Appeals in Beaver v. Chaffee,
2 Kan. App. 2d 364, 372-73, 579 P.2d 1217 (1978).
The Court of Appeals categorized the complaints of the inmates
into six different areas:
"(1) The physical facilities were alleged to be
inadequate, resulting in overcrowding and conditions
hazardous to health and safety. (2) The jail's
personnel are said to be inadequate in number,
training and ethnic mix, resulting in beatings and
sexual assaults among the inmates. (3) It is claimed
that the inmates are not properly classified and
segregated, particularly by age and sex, and are not
afforded proper exercise or programs aimed at
vocational training or other types of rehabilitation.
(4) The food is said to be of poor quality, poorly
prepared, and infested with insects and vermin. (5)
The policies and procedures for governing the jail
are alleged to be vague, and not properly followed
anyway, resulting in harsh and arbitrary discipline.
(6) It is alleged that inmate mail is improperly
censored, and facilities for attorney-client
conferences are inadequate." 2 Kan. App. 2d at 365-66.
On remand, the parties entered into a consent judgment which
was approved and signed by the assigned district judge, the
Honorable Robert L. Gernon, on May 6, 1983. It is this consent
judgment that is now before us for review.
The consent judgment required the Shawnee County Commissioners
to construct a new county jail and to comply with the minimum
standards for administrative operations set forth at K.S.A.
75-5228(a). A new policy and procedure manual and a population
control plan were subsequently drafted, approved by the district
court, and made part of the consent judgment. The consent
judgment also contained provisions dealing with specific problems
in the existing jail (e.g. overcrowding and inadequate
Paragraph 43 of the consent judgment stated: "This court shall
retain continuing jurisdiction concerning all matters covered by
this Consent Judgment and Order until one year from ...