Hundreds of inmates are now free thanks to a cost saving decision by the state of Kentucky.
WYMT's Peter O'Connor talked to one commonwealth's attorney about what that means and how he believes it sends the wrong message.
Letcher County Commonwealth's Attorney Edison Banks says he is worried the states decision to release more than 800 inmates will send the wrong message to the community and to criminals.
Lawmakers approved several measures this year to reduce the cost of housing inmates, including quicker consideration of parole and time off for good behavior.
The new policy is to help cut costs and reduce overcrowding in jails and prisons.
Letcher County Commonwealth Attorney Edison Banks says the move tells criminals they can do whatever they want and only face minimum penalties and at the same time tells the community the streets may not be as safe as they could be.
“If you have 20 different theft charges they are still considered d felonies. That person is probably not some one you want out in 6 months or less,” Edison Banks, Letcher County Commonwealth Attorney said.
In Whitesburg the Letcher County jail officials say they've released 3 inmates so far.
Banks remains skeptical that the new policies from Frankfort will work.
Attorney general Jack Conway's office released a statement that said public safety is their number priority. "Prosecutors are very concerned about the budget provision affecting parolees. Some of these defendants have committed serious crimes, and the public and prosecutors expect them to serve the maximum time available according to Kentucky statutes."
“They are looking for ways to because the crowding at the jails and prisons. They are looking for anyway that they can turn them out as quickly as they can,” Banks said.