The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has been monitoring the important work of The Kentucky Penal and Controlled Substance Task Force chaired by Senator Tom Jenson and Representative John Tilley over the past few months. The task force, created by the General Assembly during the 2010 Session, has been charged with examining Kentucky’s corrections system – including costs – and the state’s penal code system in order to bring cost savings to the system without being “soft” on crime and hope to reduce recidivism in Kentucky’s prisons. The PEW Center on the States, who has been successful working with other states implementing changes, has been working alongside the task force in examining Kentucky’s system and making recommendations.
During the November meetings, PEW brought forth a series of preliminary recommendations to be examined by the start of the legislative session in January. They include requiring parole boards to hear cases 90 days prior to the parole eligibility date, improve the parole board’s deferment process, ways to reduce recidivism, and require a certificate of need before counties can build new jails. Another issue the task force continues to review is the “scheduling” of pseudoephedrine in an attempt to reduce access to one of the major ingredients needed in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. By scheduling pseudoephedrine, a prescription would be required from a doctor for purchasing any and all products containing it. Two states, Oregon and Mississippi, have taken this action and seen the number of meth labs drop in their states dramatically. The task force will be examining these recommendations in December with final recommendations ready for review by January. The Kentucky Chamber will continue to monitor these meetings and bring you up-to-date on their progress.