Kentucky Justice Cabinet suggests legislative reforms to improve prison and justice issues

Prision Cells at Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise, Idaho

Kentucky Justice Cabinet Secretary John Tilley told legislators Friday he would like to see changes made to many areas of the state’s corrections system in order to lower prison populations, ensure safety, and improve outcomes.

At a meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary on Friday morning, Tilley gave an update on where Kentucky stands in terms of numbers of people incarcerated, changes in prison population, and other aspects of the justice system before providing recommendations his cabinet would like to see made legislatively in order to move the state forward.

Tilley noted the General Assembly has passed justice reforms before and added his cabinet and the Bevin administration have made many changes that have improved the state’s justice system in recent years. However, he said there is more to be done to continue to see additional progress.

Changes the Justice Cabinet Secretary suggested include changing classifications of certain crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, improving certain areas of probation and parole such as providing graduated sanctions and other incentives, expanding work for time credit, reforming Kentucky’s bail system, adopting many of the recommendations of the Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council (CJPAC), and additional cleanup to outdated policies that exist in the justice system.

Tilley addressed the current overcrowding of corrections facilities across the state, staffing issues including shortages and overextending personnel, lack of proper treatment for those with substance abuse disorder, and many other issues facing the state. Secretary Tilley recently spoke at length about these issues in an interview with The Bottom Line which can be found here.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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