10:30pm

Wed September 14, 2011
Statehouse News

Reforms Cut Prison Population

Although it’s early, it appears reforms made to Kentucky’s penal code is cutting prison populations.  Members of the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act Task Force got a report Wednesday.  Laurie Dudgeon directs the Administrative Office of the Courts.  "Of the 40 thousand approximate defendants our pre-trial officers interviewed in jail, we have a release rate of those folks, an increase of two percent.  So two percent more of those folks have been released than in the previous time period,” said Dudgeon.

Instead of prison, the law steers more non violent people into drug treatment.  Now,  House Judiciary Committee Chair John Tilley says the Commonwealth needs more treatment facilities.

“And then we’re gonna have to have more beds certainly as well,  that doesn’t…you know we’ve got faith based treatment options in this bill…certainly our communities play a role there,” added Tilley.

So far, Circuit Judge David Tapp likes what he sees…

“The numbers which are, at least, initially coming out seem to indicate that the bill is working in terms of reducing incarceration rates and lowing costs to the state…probably too early to tell yet if those numbers will bear that conclusion out,” said Tapp.

Laurie Dudgeon, meanwhile, told the panel there’s a need for as many as 25 more pre-trial workers.