Hopkinsville Rep. Tilley Says New Penal Reforms are Working

Jan 14, 2013

A new law that allows alternative sentencing for non-violent misdemeanor offenses to ease jail overcrowding in Kentucky is beginning to show positive results. That’s according to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Democrat John Tilley was one of the architects of the 2011 measure known as House Bill 463, which, among other things, emphasizes substance abuse treatment instead of incarceration as an option for misdemeanor drug crimes.

"Our defendants are now showing up to court on supervision at a higher rate, and the public safety rate, which means they’re committing fewer offenses while on release, has actually improved. Translation: public safety has been enhanced, at a great savings in particular to our counties," Tilley told colleagues this week.

Tilley says the state Department of Public Advocacy estimates the new law is saving counties millions of dollars.

Opponents of the law have been concerned that alternative sentencing and early release of some prisoners could result in more repeat offenses.