Home » Legislative committee updated on recidivism reduction program

Legislative committee updated on recidivism reduction program

Part of comprehensive justice reform bill

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 12, 2013) – Early results of a pilot program aimed at reducing recidivism in jails across the state are positive, Marion County Jailer Barry Brady told members of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection on Thursday.

prisonThe pilot program is part of a comprehensive justice reform bill, House Bill 463, passed during the 2011 Regular Session to decrease the state’s prison population and reduce incarceration costs.

“It’s still jail and it’s still doing time, but we’ve got to do more. …We can assure [each inmate] will be a better neighbor and won’t be a ward of our state,” Brady said.

Marion County Jails are using a variety of evidence-based programs to rehabilitate low-custody inmates in their system. Among the programs, prisoners may be engaged in parenting classes, re-entry classes or cognitive thinking training.

“Inmates work during the day, return to the facility, clean up and go to classes at night,” Brady said.

The efforts cost approximately $175,000 each year and are funded through the Marion County Detention Center budget and an HB 463 Community Corrections grant, according to Brady. In three years, projected savings from decreasing inmates’ jail time should more than pay for the cost of the programs to continue, he said.

Brady said he is receiving a lot of positive feedback about the programs from inmates and their families and is seeing an increased number of GEDs earned by prisoners.

Several lawmakers commended the work of the recidivism programs and urged jailers across the state to take the same approach.

“Not only are you trying to achieve the goal of HB 463… but more than that you are trying to improve the lives of human beings,” Rep. Terry Mills, D-Lebanon, said.

Committee members also watched a heavy equipment demonstration from urban and technical search and rescue units across the state and received an update on cuts by the Department of Defense to military personnel at Fort Campbell and Fort Knox in 2014.

Fort Knox is expected to lose an entire army combat brigade which makes up 43 percent of its active force, officials with the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs said. They are communicating with the Department of Defense about options to delay or reverse the planned reductions.