Criminal Justice Changes Touted to Curb Prison Population in Kentucky

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – With Kentucky’s prisons expected to run out of space by mid-2019, proposals to curb rising incarceration rates picked up some momentum as lawmakers begin considering the legislation.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday spoke at a statehouse event where proposals were touted to steer more drug offenders toward treatment and away from incarceration.

Kentucky’s prison population is forecast to rise by 19 percent in the next decade, strapping taxpayers with nearly $600 million in additional costs.

Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley says lawmakers have a chance to make “transformational” changes to cut the state’s prison population.

A key proposal would reclassify first and second drug possession convictions to a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Another change would raise the felony theft threshold from $500 to $2,000.