KY budget proposal calls for early release of 2,000 inmates

Published: Mar. 10, 2010 at 10:13 PM EST|Updated: Apr. 19, 2010 at 8:05 PM EDT
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LaGrange, KY - By Jon Chrisos - bio | email

LA GRANGE, KY (WAVE) - A House committee has approved a money saving move that would release thousands of state inmates here in Kentucky. Lawmakers say letting as many as 2,000 inmates out of jail early would save $30 million.

They're trying to overcome a $1 billion budget shortfall. Part of the plan calls for some non-violent, non-sexual offenders to be considered for early release.

But Oldham County Jailer Mike Simpson said he has huge concerns about that plan.

"We do know a percentage of these inmates will re-offend, commit new crimes, and we're concerned about that," Simpson said.

On top of the safety concerns, Simpson says it would have a huge financial impact on jails across the state. The state pays the Oldham County Jail about $32 a day to house inmates. Right now, his jail is housing about 20 inmates.

"Everyone is working to balance their budgets," Simpson said. "When you have the rug pulled out from under you, where do you turn to offset that loss of revenue?"

Department of Corrections officials say they're still looking over the proposal and are not ready to comment.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo's office says many inmates eligible for release under the proposed plan are already up for parole, and the budget bill would just speed up the process.

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