Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton says there’s been a “hollowing out” of the state’s court system over the last four years because of funding cuts.
Minton spoke Friday at a Louisville criminal justice summit. Minton says funding for Kentucky courts has dropped by nearly 50 percent since 2009 and about 235 employees have been lost due to layoffs or unfilled positions. Minton told attendees courthouse doors will be shut three days this year because of the funding cuts, saying the Commonwealth’s courts are at a tipping point. He was on a panel of speakers that included Court of Appeals Judge Denise Clayton and Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel. Stengel says the three-day court closing would still cost county jails, where people will spend extra time awaiting trial. Stengel suggests alternatives including ankle bracelets and take-home breathalyzers to allow people awaiting trial or serving certain sentences to be monitored at home. He says it’s better than putting people in jail and prison, where there is little if any rehabilitation.