3:40 am
Mon October 20, 2008

Prison Overcrowding

Frankfort, KY – Faced with a burgeoning and increasingly expensive prison population, Kentucky lawmakers are considering a total rewrite of the state's Penal Code, which hasn't been overhauled in more than 30 years. Kentucky Public Radio's Tony McVeigh has more.
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In the last few decades, Kentucky's prison population has exploded, from around three thousand inmates in the mid-1970's to almost 22-thousand now. The situation is becoming untenable, and lawmakers are anxious to find answers. Louisville Senator Gerald Neal says that's why they're considering wholesale changes to the state's Penal Code.

"I think the public has to brought into the process and there has to be an education process on both sides, the leadership side and the public side. And we have to come to some understanding of where are we in the matrix of things - what works and what doesn't work."
A subcommittee co-chaired by Sen. Neal hopes to have some recommendations ready by December, for action in the 2009 General Assembly. But he says the problem is so complex, an extension will likely be necessary.