LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York all have one thing in common: reducing their prison populations by a quarter or more in the past two decades - while experiencing declining crime rates.
That certainly hasn't been the case with all states that have experienced prison populations declines, but those states show it can be done.
For the past decade, Kentucky's prison population has grown at a rate higher than all but seven other states and the Commonwealth's rate of incarceration is much higher than the national average among states.
We encourage Kentucky's Criminal Justice Police Assessment Council to look at dollar thresholds distinguishing misdemeanors and felonies for property offenses. Kentucky's is double the minimum of 30 other states, contributing to the prison population swelling.
Certain drug offenses might also be better served with reclassification.
Some of the money saved from incarcerating lower-level offenders could be better utilized assisting the transition process for individuals leaving prison.
We look forward to their recommendations and trust lawmakers will act to help keep more people out of prison while keeping the crime rate down.