Skip to content

JRI Years: 2011, 2017

2011

Background

Kentucky had one of the fastest-growing prison populations in the United States between 2000 and 2009.1 In 2009, the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Task Force was created to “seek new ways to protect public safety while controlling the growth of prison costs.” The Task Force partnered with The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Crime and Justice Institute, and the JFA Institute to develop recommendations that led to a set of reforms which were codified in HB 463.2

Policies

In 2011, Kentucky passed House Bill 463, The Public Safety and Offender Accountability Act, which was signed into law by then-Governor Steve Beshear. This legislation strengthened community corrections availability and practices through using a risk and needs assessment, using evidence-based practices, and focusing resources on those individuals at a higher risk of reoffending. The bill allocated $26 million to support local correctional facilities.3 Further, the Act prompted multiple policy and practice changes.

Outcomes

As a result of the policy changes, the state allocated $26 million to the Local Corrections Assistance Fund, supporting local correctional facilities and programs that house nearly half of the state’s incarcerated population.4 Kentucky substantially expanded access to substance use treatment by doubling corrections-based treatment slots and establishing 1,400 beds in the Community Substance Abuse Program to improve treatment availability in the community.5

For more information, see Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) Kentucky.

JRI-Driven Policies and Practices

  • Establish/expand presumptive probation for some offenses
  • Establish/revise presentence assessment
  • Improve/revise pretrial release systems
  • Reclassify/redefine drug offenses
  • Revise drug-free school zone
  • Revise sentencing enhancements
  • Revise parole hearings/decision/eligibility standards
  • Establish/expand earned discharge (probation/parole)
  • Authorize performance incentive funding
  • Authorize administrative jail sanctions
  • Authorize/develop/modify graduated responses or matrices for violations
  • Establish/improve electronic monitoring
  • Establish mandatory reentry supervision
  • Require/improve risk-needs assessment
  • Require evidence-based practices
  • Reform/establish specialty courts or diversion programs
  • Require fiscal impact statements
  • Require data collection/performance measures

2017

Background

In 2017, then-Governor Matt Bevin convened the Justice Reinvestment Work Group as a continuation of the Kentucky Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council formed the previous year. He tasked the Work Group with studying Kentucky’s growing prison population and developing policy that could reduce corrections populations while still protecting public safety.6 With technical assistance from the Crime and Justice Institute, the Work Group issued 20 recommendations that were incorporated into House Bill 396. However, the bill was not voted out of committee.7

1 The Urban Institute, 2019, Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI): Kentucky, Washington, DC: Urban Institute, retrieved May 19, 2023 from https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/2020/03/06/justice_reinvestment_initiative_jri_kentucky.pdf.

2 Kentucky Department of Corrections, 2012, House Bill 463 Implementation Evidence-based Practices and Programs, retrieved June 22, 2023 from https://corrections.ky.gov/About/researchandstats/Documents/Annual%20Reports/HB%20463%20EBP%20Report%2012-1-12.pdf.

3 Chelsea Thomson and Samantha Harvell, 2019, Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI): Kentucky, Washington, DC: Urban Institute, retrieved May 19, 2023 from https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/2020/03/06/justice_reinvestment_initiative_jri_kentucky.pdf.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid., 2.

7 Ibid., 1.

^ Back to top