Data: Kentucky among national leaders in imprisonment rates


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(WEHT)- Data released by the Bureau of Prison Statistics shows Kentucky had the seventh-highest rate of imprisonment per capita in the nation in 2019.

In 2019, Kentucky had 516 people per 100,000 adults in prison, compared to 302 people in Illinois and 399 people in Indiana. The national average was set a 419 people in prison per 100,000 adults. Louisiana has the highest rate of imprisonment, with 680 people while Massachusetts had the lowest rate with 133 people.

While the rate of imprisonment dropped 1.5 percent in Kentucky, that’s still less than the 2.3 percent national average and the rate of Kentucky women behind bars is the third highest in the country and more than two times higher than the national average according to Kentucky Smart on Crime.

Kentucky’s lack of progress is directly attributable to an unwillingness to embrace data-driven criminal justice reforms being implemented in a number of other states. Significant changes to our bail, felony theft and probation/parole systems are imperative

Ashley Spalding, research director at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy

Kentucky Smart on Crime says the current corrections budget in the Commonwealth is one of the largest expenditures in the state budget. Kentucky Smart on Crime is an organization committed to “common-sense justice reforms that enhance public safety, strengthen communities, and promote cost effective sentencing alternatives.”

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(This story was originally published on October 28, 2020)


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