Governor announces new panel to reform Kentucky's criminal justice system

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Matt Bevin unveiled a new council Tuesday dedicated to criminal justice reform.

Gov. Bevin introduced his newly-formed Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council. The 23-member group includes legislators, law enforcement, attorneys, and religious leaders.

The governor is giving the board six months, until the start of the 2017 legislative session, to review the state's prison system and come up with recommendations to reform it.

"These people know collectively and individually a lot more about this topic than I do and they're in good hands with Chairman Secretary Tilley who is chairing this group. They will come forward with good ideas. We will put those into thoughtful pieces of policy," Gov. Bevin said. "I'm a big believer that there should be consequences for decisions made. Penance should be paid. When people make mistakes, they should be held to account. The law matters. That said, there are smarter and better ways that we can go about the application of those laws."

The Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council held their first meeting Tuesday afternoon, after the governor's announcement.

"We are not doing what we should do to cut re-offense rates, to allow folks to recover, to knock down those barriers that exist when they leave the prison," noted Council Chairman John Tilley.

The council plans to meet twice a month, beginning this fall.

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