Beshear administration set to commute sentences of more than 600 inmates, launch initiative to provide internet access to low-income Kentuckians

As Kentucky continues to work on ways to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration of Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday they are launching an initiative to provide internet access to low income Kentucky students and release more than 600 inmates from state corrections facilities.

Because many Kentucky schools are going back with distanced learning and all digital education, the issue of students not having internet access has become a larger issue. Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman said there are around 32,000 Kentucky kids that lack internet access at home and the administration is investing $8 million in helping provide access.

Coleman said the investment will reduce the cost of internet access for low-income families to $10 a month and they hope to have providers selected by September 15.

Additionally, Secretary for the Executive Cabinet J. Michael Brown announced 646 Kentucky inmates will be able to be released soon to keep them safe from COVID-19. The new round of commutations comes after the Beshear administration took similar action at the start of the pandemic and 1,200 individuals were impacted.

In order to qualify for the commutation, an individual must be within six months of the end of their sentence for a non-violent, non-sexual crime and/or meet the CDC guidelines of those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.

When asked about a letter sent to the Beshear administration Tuesday by the Kentucky Chamber and other groups urging the governor to uses CARES Act funds to help shore up the state’s drained Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, Beshear said it is possible some of the money could be used in that way in the future but current inaction by Congress and no clear understanding about whether or not states will receive additional funding makes it hard to make those decisions.

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