Lawmakers introduce bill to help convicts more easily re-enter society

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - State officials say prison overcrowding, recidivism rates, and the drug epidemic are getting out of hand.

Governor Matt Bevin joined the bill's sponsor, Senator Whitney Westerfield, and other state leaders in the introduction of Senate Bill 120.

"One of the best things we can do for public safety is to make sure the people who have been punished, who are being punished for doing what they did wrong have a smooth and successful transition back into the communities where we all live with our families," said Senator Westerfield.

Supporters of the measure say it removes automatic bans for felons seeking professional licenses, provides a way for drug addicts to seek help from police without fear of drug possession charges, and creates a path for private business to provide job opportunities for inmates.

Lawmakers hope the bill will make it easier for convicts to re-enter society.

"Things about how we can ensure we actually assimilate people back into the workforce. Because a job is one of the best ways for a person to not fall back into recidivism; A chance for them to be able to rebuild their lives," Governor Matt Bevin said.

This Criminal Justice Reform Bill stems from work by a 23-member panel assembled by the Governor last year.

The bill will now be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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