Kentucky Officials Split Over Home Incarceration Plan

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.

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  • by Melvin Leonhart Location: Greenup County on May 23, 2008 at 05:30 PM
    Home incarceration for non-violent, first-time offenders sounds like a great idea at first for saving costs. What my liberal friends are not telling you is that a large percentage of these criminals will be setting on their dead a** drawing food stamps and free medical care anyway. We pay again. Since we are doomed to support these deadbeats anyway, I'd just as soon they be locked up! But that's just me I guess.
  • by Me Location: Pike County, Kentucky on Apr 12, 2008 at 08:29 PM
    Yes, that is a very good plan and I hope it goes through because my son dont belong in there and needs to be at home.
  • by Diane Location: Mt. Sterling on Apr 12, 2008 at 10:23 AM
    The problem I have with this proposal is that our court system in Kentucky has demonstrated it's incompetence. How, By "accidentally" letting out violent offenders having them committing crimes and only then realizing their mistakes. Now we are supposed to trust the judgment of these same court officials who will be responsible for freeing thousands of criminals. I just don't trust their judgment or oversight in the matter.
  • by Wow Location: RIchmond on Apr 12, 2008 at 09:11 AM
    One probation or parole officer even at $40,000 a year (overestimate). Monitoring as little as thiry people would pay for itself in the 1st month. Average $50 a day per inmate health and etc expenses included and it comes out to $45,000 a month to house them. Maybe we should invest in companies that sell home monitoring ankle bracelets?
  • by Mary Location: E Ky on Apr 12, 2008 at 08:22 AM
    I think home incarceration is the greatest idea. These are only druggies mostly & this way they pay for their own upkeep & not at the taxpayers expense. I know its expensive to get this system set up but has to be better in the long run. Our jails are too over-crowded & this is the only solution I see. Unless they want to pitch a huge tent & fence it in & grow their own food, like one sheriff did in Texas, then they best get on with it.
  • by D Location: Winchester on Apr 12, 2008 at 06:44 AM
    You've been very naughty, go put your nose in the corner! This is a ridiculous plan. It is appropriate in some cases, but it is not a truly viable option to incarceration. The court system in KY gives people so much room to wiggle already that it is nearly impossible to send them to prison for a first offense. To eliminate the option of prison for theives and drug offenders is repulsive, because it just furthers the stigma that there are no real consequences for one's actions. The solution is to cut costs by making prison a less comfortable place and increase revenue by giving prisoners constructive things to do such as building furniture as opposed to giving them free college, cable tv, and meat to eat. If prison were a real punishment instead of a chance to get your bachelor's degree and catch up on Survivor, then maybe people would be afraid to go, thereby less apt to participate in conduct that could get them sent there.
  • by Mike Location: Lexington on Apr 12, 2008 at 05:53 AM
    I would have to think the home incarceration plan would cost less than building more prisons, putting the cost on the criminal, good decision


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