Kentucky’s criminal justice issues have been in the news recently. The majority of Kentucky’s full-service jails are at or over capacity, and the state is considering reopening private prisons as a temporary solution to jail overcrowding despite the negative aspects of doing so, which have led the U.S. Justice Department to end its use of private prisons. A related issue is the consistent denial of bail credit in Kentucky, which contributes to the jail overcrowding problem by keeping people in jail pre-trial who should qualify for release; bail credit is when an inmate who cannot afford the bail amount earns $100 each day spent in jail toward bail.
Clearly the state is in need of reforms to its criminal justice system, and the Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council (CJPAC) appointed by the governor to produce recommendations is holding its sixth meeting this morning. Here’s a roundup of our blogs on some of the key issues:
- Kentucky’s inmate population continues to rise, which has an impact on individuals and families as well as the state budget.
- The state’s recidivism rates are high and have been increasing; this means too many are returning to prison within two to three years after release.
- There are racial disparities in Kentucky’s criminal justice system that could be addressed with reforms.
- HB 463, the state’s criminal justice reform legislation in 2011, has had a positive impact that additional reforms can build on.
- Representative Yonts’s criminal justice reform bill, which was presented at last week’s Judiciary meeting, would save the state money and reduce recidivism.
- A number of promising reform options are being considered by the CJPAC.
Today’s CJPAC meeting held at 10 am in Capital Annex Room 171 will include a presentation on the parole board as well as updates from work groups. The next CJPAC meeting will be October 26th at 11:00 am at Little Sandy Correctional Complex.