Honoring Kansas State Rep. and Justice Reinvestment Initiative Legislative Champion, Russell Jennings

October 29, 2021
Rep Jennings Russell

Rep. Russell Jennings

We at The Council of State Governments Justice Center were saddened to learn of the passing of Kansas State Representative Russell Jennings. Rep. Jennings was a staunch advocate for sensible criminal and juvenile justice reform who worked every day to ensure that the people in Kansas were safe, victims were supported, and that people involved in the justice system were afforded second chances to break the cycle of recidivism. Throughout his career, he advocated for laws and policies that made those second chances possible to achieve.

Rep. Jennings was well respected by his colleagues and recognized as a problem solver and someone who always worked to do what was best for Kansas. Over the years, he worked as a deputy sheriff, magistrate judge, and juvenile detention center director, which allowed him to bring extensive knowledge, experience, and expertise to conversations at the state house. His peers often looked to him for guidance on criminal justice-related issues.

“I knew Russ for twenty-five years,” said David Adkins, executive director and CEO of the Council of State Governments. “I first met him when we worked together on juvenile justice reform. We toured the state and were together for countless hours during preparation for the successful enactment of the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1996. I’ll miss him, but I’m proud he was someone I knew as a friend. His legacy is a better Kansas.”

As a champion of criminal justice reform, Rep. Jennings’ impact extended beyond the borders of his state and inspired others to follow the example he set forward. “The criminal and juvenile justice reform community lost a great champion with Rep. Jennings’ passing,” said Megan Quattlebaum, CSG Justice Center director. “Rep. Jennings was a model public servant who was respected and admired by members of both parties.”

Rep. Jennings’ tireless work to make communities safer and stronger will live on after him. Our hearts are with his wife Judy, and his family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time.


Rep. Jennings image courtesy of the Kansas Legislature 

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