Kentucky not realizing expected savings from corrections reforms

The Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue received an update from Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown on Thursday concerning the corrections reform bill passed in the 2011 Kentucky General Assembly. The measure, which included recommendations and support from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, were projected to save the state $42 million a year over the next decade.

Currently, Kentucky is incarcerating nearly 22,000 inmates across the state, 1,700 more inmates than were expected to be incarcerated by the reforms projections.  The Justice Cabinet reported that this is partially due to the Corrections Department’s slow implementation of alternative drug treatment programs and the parole board releasing fewer inmates than expected. The parole board released 46 percent inmates in its 19,330 cases during the past fiscal year. Budget forecasters had predicted parole being granted 51 percent of the time, which cost the state $6 million.

This caused the Justice Cabinet to take over $20 million in necessary government expenses to fill the gap prior to the end of the state’s fiscal year, June 30.  The Kentucky Chamber will continue to monitor the implementation of the corrections reform bill and suggest additional changes necessary to address the state’s corrections spending.

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