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January 13, 2008

Kentucky, like so many other states, struggling with prison overcrowding

6400113jailschart_standalone_prod_aReporting on a story familiar in many states, this local article discusses some of the consequences of Kentucky's problems with prison overcrowding.  The piece is headlined "Cramming in the inmates: With prisons full, many county jails are overflowing with felons," and here are excerpts:

Lincoln County's jail, like many in Kentucky, is packed beyond capacity. It has room for 72 prisoners. On a recent weekday, it held 101, about two dozen of them state inmates for whom there is no space in prisons....

Kentucky's 16 prisons are full. The Corrections Department has built only one in the last decade, even as its inmate population nearly doubled to 22,500 because of the war on drugs and tougher penalties for other crimes. The state's solution? Overcrowd the local jails....

If Kentucky's elected leaders continue to ignore the problem, the state soon will spend half a billion dollars a year to incarcerate a population equivalent to the city of Frankfort. The expense is crippling the state as well as the counties, who say they aren't sufficiently compensated. A few counties spend close to half their budgets on their jails....

Public safety also could be at risk. Jails and prisons aren't the same thing. Jails tend to have less space and money. For state inmates -- nearly all of whom will be released one day -- jails offer little of the rehabilitation available in prisons, such as drug and alcohol treatment and job training, or libraries, dining halls and exercise yards.

New Gov. Steve Beshear concedes that he doesn't have answers. Beshear spared the Corrections Department from the current round of state budget cuts, but it's unlikely to get additional money. "I'm not sure what to do at the moment," Beshear said. "Obviously, a great number of offenders who are in our jails and in our prisons right now are drug-related. ... We all know for a fact that if there is an answer to the drug problem, it's treatment and rehabilitation. But that costs money. And right now, we don't have any."...

Recent coverage of other states' struggles with prison populations:

January 13, 2008 at 09:51 AM | Permalink


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What is the sentcing for 4th a fense no insurance? But I have insurance now.

Posted by: Mike HUghes | Sep 14, 2008 7:14:50 PM

The sentences given to Kentuckians are excessive and the govenor needs to step in and reveiw what the criminal courts are doing with regards to increasing the severity of the crime and locking persons away with unreasonable and lengthy sentences. The prisions are over-crowed and are breeding criminals becuase of the injustices that the court system is doing. Look also at how Kentucky abuses the double jeopardy rule. The system needs to be automated and then you will see and the automation should monitor. Judge's should have guidelines that they can not stray from and at current they do not. At current it is in the judge's favor to surmount cases with excessive sentencing for the poor; a job security and most certainly a conflict of interest. With their manipulation running rapid and unchecked; how many more judges are needed for the state to hire? The next item to address is inmates that are so ill they are no harm to anyone and lay at death's door while constituants pay large taxes to cover their medical. I was a government senior computer programmer.

Posted by: Sharon Collazo | May 11, 2009 8:09:06 PM

i AM A concerned CITIZEN AND TAXPAYER IN THE STATE OF ky..... How can a parolee....who has not reoffended in over 2 years.....be given an excessive chare of PFO1 for failing to report to a parole officer????? The parolee lost employment and was told that if employment was not gained within 1 week....THER WOULD BE BIG TROUBLE!!!!!!!!! 6 years served.....no reoffense.....what the.....is going on????? THANKYOU

Posted by: BRENDA | Jul 13, 2009 10:28:15 PM

I have to agree, it is a terrible problem. It is also next to impossible for felons to get empoloyment. They are in a catch 22 situation and cannot get out of this cycle of gloom and doom.

Posted by: sandra small | Feb 1, 2011 2:47:59 PM

The laurel county jail in London ky has people sleeping all over the floors in the cells some cells that have 16 beds have close to the same amount of people sleeping in the floor some inmates say you cant even walk for tripping over people and is so hot you cant hardly breathe in the cells on inspection day the jailer moves prisoners around , gets all the matts off the floor and promises inmates pizza that night if their are no complaints to inspectors and also from what i hear is that the inmates are afraid of being locked down if they tell anything .They should not let the jailer know when there is going to be an inspection and they could see the real way the jail is.

Posted by: Kay | Oct 25, 2012 5:28:09 PM

My son is in a county jail and has had sewer back up for 3 days now.That had to move all inmates and has not been fixed yet. Was not able to use there toilet or sink for 2 days, Why? it was the week end and no one was there who could fix it ? He is in Max and in a locked room for 22 hrs a day. Couldn't get away from it.

Posted by: Sanda | May 7, 2013 1:53:19 PM

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