Criminal Justice Reform
Corrections is Kentucky's third largest expenditure consuming one-tenth of Kentucky's budget. Significant criminal justice reforms were adopted in 2011 in what was known as "HB 463." While initially successful, the inmate population has continued to grow and recently topped 24,000 according to the Department of Corrections (DOC) average daily census. The DOC predicts that if unchecked, Kentucky's inmate population will grow by another 20% at a cost of $600 million dollars. Kentucky can be both tough and smart on crime. Criminal justice reform needs to continue by (1) holding offenders accountable, (2)reserving incarceration for inmates who pose a risk to public safety, (3) expanding transition programs for recently released felons, (4) reducing barriers for workforce reentry and civic engagement, (5) treating addiction through effective programming like drug courts rather than secure detention, and (6) "front-loading" the system by intervening with the youngest offenders where behavior change is most likely to occur and where taxpayer savings are the greatest.