C-J Analysis Shows 14% Of Released Prisoners Re-offend

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- At least 14 percent of the inmates let out of prison since May under the state's controversial early-release program have been charged with crimes again, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal in its Sunday edition.

Of the 1,004 individuals released as of mid-September, 146 have been arrested or indicted by grand juries, according to an analysis of records obtained by The Courier-Journal from the state Administrative Office of the Courts.

The early-release program was authorized by this year's budget bill and implemented by Gov. Steve Beshear in an effort to save $30 million in the next two years, reports the C-J.

The number of those accused of committing new crimes isn't surprising to experts. Statistics show that roughly 30 percent of the state's inmates commit new offenses within two years of release.

"There are people out there whose entire lives are spent going through the court system," said Dave Stengel, the Jefferson County commonwealth's attorney.

At least 16 of the 146 new offenders are accused of committing violent crimes, including rape, robbery and domestic violence, the C-J reports.

For example, a McCracken County man was charged Sept. 13 with raping his wife, and a Jefferson County man was charged July 28 with robbing a gas station at gunpoint.

A Nelson County man faces 15 felony charges for a Sept. 4 incident in which he allegedly struck a police cruiser with a vehicle, nearly crashed into a school bus full of children and then fled from police on foot. And 10 of the new cases involve alleged acts of domestic violence, the newspaper reports.

The early-release program -- which includes some violent offenders -- gives credit against inmates' sentences for the time they were out on parole before being sent back to prison for parole violations, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal.

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