Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Crime initiative published the paper Bail Reform in Kentucky: A Primer for Future Legislative Efforts.

“Major overcrowding in Kentucky jails has long been a problem but the COVID-19 pandemic provided a successful, albeit forced, experiment into pretrial reforms that would enhance public safety while effectively prioritizing keeping dangerous defendants behind bars pretrial while allowing more nonviolent defendants to await their trials from home rather than a jail cell,” said Right on Crime’s Kentucky State Director Aubrey Vaughan Travis. “Legislators should consider ways to detain fewer offenders pretrial without jeopardizing public safety through continued use of objective risk assessments, considering alternative options for substance abusers, and ensuring judges have the discretion to keep the most dangerous offenders behind bars pretrial.”

Key Points:

  • Kentucky holds too many nonviolent, low-risk offenders in county jails prior to their trials, often due to their inability to pay their money bail.
  • Legislators need to consider cost-saving reforms that will decrease this pretrial population without jeopardizing public safety.
  • Any proposals should include solutions for those with substance abuse issues, who make up the bulk of nonviolent, low-risk offenders in pretrial detention.

To read the paper in full, please visit:

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