FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Prosecutors and lawmakers are split over a plan that would allow some Kentucky inmates convicted of nonviolent
and non-sexual felonies to finish their sentences in home incarceration.
Prosecutors say the plan jeopardizes public safety, while some lawmakers tout it as a way to save money and give offenders a better chance at staying out of prison. Prison officials say they are still working out the details, but plan to maintain public safety.
"What we're doing isn't working," Rep. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, said. "There's a difference between tough on crime and smart on crime."
The General Assembly last week approved a two-year $19 billion state spending plan, that included funding cuts to numerous government agencies and programs. Kentucky is facing a $900 million revenue shortfall in the next two fiscal years.
Lawmakers appropriated more than $524 million in state funds toward adult prisons in the next two fiscal years beginning July 1. They also appropriated more than $300 million during that time for community services and local facilities which, among other things, handles the monitoring of people on home incarceration.
Gov. Steve Beshear has advocated alternative punishments for people convicted of nonviolent crimes as a way to ease the state's soaring prison costs. Kentucky's inmate population grew by 12 percent to more than 22,000 people last year.