KY Policy Blog

What is Recidivism and What Can Be Done to Reduce It?

By Ashley Spalding
August 15, 2016

Policy discussions around the need for criminal justice reform like those happening in our state right now often feature the term “recidivism.” While the concept is central to this topic, it’s a somewhat wonky term that may be useful to unpack. So what is recidivism? And what can be done to reduce it in Kentucky?

What is recidivism?

Recidivism is the share of inmates released from prison who are reincarcerated within a particular period of time — for instance two or three years after leaving — either for committing a read more

Address Declining Workforce through Job Creation and Work Supports

By Jason Bailey
July 11, 2016

The administration’s proposal to change Medicaid is framed around increasing workforce participation — making it harder for people to get public benefits, it is assumed, will somehow make them more likely to seek work. But as a recent report by the Council of Economic Advisors shows, the gradual decline in the workforce — especially among working age men — can be linked primarily to a loss of decent jobs accessible to less-educated workers as well as the absence of a variety of supports that remove barriers to employment.

Over the read more

Rising Kentucky Prison Population Should Make Penal Code Reform a 2017 Priority

By Ashley Spalding
June 21, 2016

The governor’s announcement today about the formation of a Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council to work toward needed reforms is an important step in addressing a serious problem in our state. The latest data from the Department of Corrections (DOC) shows Kentucky’s inmate population has been rising rapidly, far above the state’s projections. Without additional criminal justice reforms, the number of incarcerated Kentuckians will likely continue to increase, costing the state money needed for other vital public investments and harming Kentucky families without improving public safety.

inmate population

Source: Kentucky Department of read more

Rural Kentucky Population Continues Decline While Urban and Suburban Areas Grow

By Dustin Pugel
May 23, 2016

Recently released population estimates from the Census show that, over the last five years, Kentucky continues to urbanize. Rural eastern and western counties’ populations have dropped while the “golden triangle” (the region bound by Jefferson, Fayette, and the northern Kentucky counties) as well as the Owensboro-Bowling Green corridor grew. Overall, between 2010 and 2015, Kentucky grew by an estimated 77,155 people or 1.8 percent. Almost all of the state’s net increase in population, 68,810, occurred in cities.

By percent, the counties that saw the largest loss of population were:

Lee read more

Kentucky’s Lopsided Recovery Continues

By Jason Bailey
May 11, 2016

Job growth in Kentucky’s recovery continues to be concentrated in a minority of counties located in more prosperous parts of the state while many rural Kentucky counties face employment conditions that are much worse than before the Great Recession — and in some instances are worsening.

As was the case a year ago, only 28 of Kentucky’s 120 counties had more people employed in March 2016 (the latest month available) than in March 2007, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data that looks at employment by county of residence (see read more

Kentucky’s Class of 2016 Faces Lingering Slack in Labor Market

By Anna Baumann
April 25, 2016

Despite improvement, the labor market is still weak for young Kentuckians graduating from high school and college in 2016 according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). These graduates join the previous seven classes who have faced “profound weakness” following the Great Recession.

In 2015, the unemployment rate for workers under age 25 in Kentucky was still 0.5 percentage points higher than before the recession (unemployment includes people who are currently without work, but actively seeking a job). Even more indicative of the extent of labor market read more

Budget Should Move Forward on Early Childhood, Not Back

By Dustin Pugel
March 10, 2016

Quality early childhood education, through child care and preschool, has been shown to have multiple layers of value:

It helps the economy by generating jobs and economic activity, as well as savings from reduced public expenditures later in a child’s life. It helps parents by allowing them the freedom to work or go back to school to build the skills necessary to advance their careers. And children benefit from quality early childhood education immediately, making them more likely to be prepared for Kindergarten, as well as into adulthood, when they read more

Criminal Justice Reform Bill Would Save State Money and Reduce Recidivism

By Ashley Spalding
March 2, 2016

While our state has taken some important steps in passing criminal justice reform legislation in 2011, additional reforms are needed. HB 412, a bill sponsored by Representative Yonts, would further the legacy of 2011’s Public Safety and Offender Accountability Act (HB 463) by reducing time spent in jail/prison for certain non-violent offenses, increasing economic opportunities for some offenders and saving the state money. Kentucky is in particular need of additional reform measures given the increases in the inmate population, as shown in the graph below, and associated spending that has read more

Three Steps to a Better Budget this Session

By Jason Bailey
February 25, 2016

The General Assembly has less than two months to finalize the next two-year state budget. Although the governor’s budget rightly takes a big step toward fully funding our pension liabilities, taken as a whole his plan would send the state backwards by deeply slashing the systems Kentucky relies on for the well-being of its citizens.

We don’t need to make such a painful choice. Kentucky can have a budget this session that more aggressively pays down our debt while better protecting education, human services and other vital investments needed to read more

Research Shows Disconnect Between States’ Job Creation Policies and Real World Job Growth

By Anna Baumann
February 3, 2016

New analysis shows the vast majority of job growth in Kentucky (and all states) comes from in-state companies, calling into question the state’s focus on recruiting out-of-state businesses to the Commonwealth. Findings also suggest under-investing in education, infrastructure and other essential supports for homegrown entrepreneurs and successful Kentucky businesses poses a great risk to future job growth in our state.

The new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that in all states from 1995 to 2013, between 8 and 9 of every 10 new jobs were read more