Reality Check: Women behind bars increases in Ky.

MGN Online

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - The prison population is on the decline. For the last three years, since 2010, the number of inmates nation-wide has dropped. Kentucky isn't seeing that same decline.

We've been tracking the numbers, and in the Commonwealth, more women went to prison in 2012 than in 2011. Kentucky showed one of the biggest increases in the nation.

In a WKYT Reality Check, Kristen Kennedy takes a look at the disparity between a nation-wide drop, and a state increase.

"Every woman I was in jail with was addicted to drugs. And the majority of it was heroin or pain pills," said Stacy Millay, who spent time in jail for shoplifting to pay for her addiction.

In 2011, there were 2,454 women incarcerated. That number shot up to 2,685 in 2012, a more than 9 percent increase, the sixth largest jump in the nation.

"They're committing crimes to feed their addiction. Once they get addicted to their drug of choice, it just escalates and they need money or something to feed that addiction."

If addiction is the reason so many women commit crimes, and go to prison, then the solution might lie in long-term rehabilitation.

"Jail does not make you quit using. Jail makes you think about using because you get so down and depressed when you are in there," said former Fayette County Detention Center inmate, Janet Harrison. She found hope in Grace Happens, a nonprofit set up to help women with drug and alcohol addiction.

"There is so much love in this home, and so much sisterhood," remarked Harrison, "a place like Grace Happens, it gives you hope. It gives you drive. You have faith. You can use that faith. It's awesome."

Harrison says the women at Grace Happens are often in need of professional women's clothing, and other items. To learn how you can help or to make a donation, visit the link below.

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