Friday, January 21, 2022

Play

Despite a failed attempt in the U.S. Senate, more than 200 business owners call for federal reforms to strengthen election laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court deals another blow to abortion providers.

Play

President Biden gets cheers and jeers as he marks his first year in the White House, the Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from Ivanka Trump, and the Supreme Court rejects another challenge to the Texas abortion law.

Play

Expanded broadband akin to electrification in rural America 80 years ago; small Wyoming grocery store survives monopolization; revitalized Kansas town gets national recognition; and Montana's Native communities look for voter suppression work-arounds.

Report: Financial Incentives Drive KY Jail Overcrowding, Expansion

Play

Friday, October 29, 2021   

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky counties are caught in a cycle of trying to cover the costs of incarceration by locking up more people and building bigger jails, and a new report showed the problem has stymied efforts for criminal justice reform.

Ashley Spalding, research director at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, explained local jails in some counties receive up to 86% of their jail revenue by jailing individuals for the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

"And so, what ends up happening then is that county jails, they benefit financially from holding people for the state," Spalding emphasized.

Kentucky, along with Louisiana, incarcerates the largest share of people serving felony sentences in county jails. The report calls on lawmakers to develop a plan to completely phase out the use of local jails for people in state custody, in partnership with local governments and the Department of Corrections.

The report highlighted how local governments save money by organizing incarcerated people into work crews. Jails also charge the people housed there a range of fees for booking, food and even e-cigarettes.

Spalding pointed out their commissaries made more than $1.3 million for Kentucky jails in 2018.

"And so in order for us to move forward with the necessary criminal justice reforms that would reduce incarceration in Kentucky, we have to address this broken financial system," Spalding asserted.

The report noted decriminalizing drug possession and implementing policies to release more people before their trials could help address the problem.

The pandemic also has spurred some action in Kentucky. Last April, Gov. Andy Beshear commuted 186 sentences of people with felony convictions. Later, he added 646 people with medical vulnerabilities or less than six months left to serve for nonviolent and nonsexual crimes.

Disclosure: Kentucky Center for Economic Policy contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Criminal Justice, Education, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018 to fill the seat previously held by Republican Jeff Flake. (Flickr)

Social Issues

A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…


Environment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …

Social Issues

Healthcare workers at an Oregon hospital have achieved what they say is a "win" after several strikes in recent months. Nearly 300 workers and …


Pennsylvania has over 300 million square feet of big-box building rooftops, which new research suggests could provide almost half the electricity that these buildings consume if they were outfitted with solar panels. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …

Social Issues

If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…

Over the course of the pandemic, North Dakota has received more than $350 million in federal aid to help struggling renters, but says it has sent back roughly 40% of that money unspent. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, but groups working …

Social Issues

Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …

Social Issues

After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021