The leader of Kentucky's Justice and Public Safety Cabinet says a declining recidivism rate is a major reason why the commonwealth no longer needs to house inmates in privately-run prisons.
The last remaining contract between the state and a company running a private prison expired over the weekend. That facility was run by Marion Adjustment Center in Marion County.
J. Michael Brown says the state is doing a much better job of preparing those exiting prison for life on the other side. The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary says probation and parole officers in Kentucky now use an assessment tool that better takes into account an individual's history and needs to help determine how much monitoring that former inmate will need once he or she is out of prison.
"Some individuals need very little supervision, some individuals need very targeted supervision. And doing it in a manner that is not a cookie-cutter approach, we find that we can better prepare individuals for re-entry," Brown told WKU Public Radio.
According to data kept by the Cabinet, the number of offenders who left state Department of Corrections custody in 2008 and returned by the end of 2011 declined by nearly four-percent over the previous three-year period.
Kentucky lawmakers could soon take up the issue of taxing electric and compressed natural gas vehicles, in an effort to bolster a flagging road and bridge maintenance fund.
Kentucky House Transportation Committee Chairman Hubert Collins says alternatives are already being discussed in other states and at the federal level. Collins says with gas tax revenue in decline, Kentucky has to do something to make sure there’s adequate funding for transportation infrastructure.
“I think we see that U.P.S. bought something like 1,700 new vehicles which will be the compressed natural gas variety, and that will again take a toll (on Kentucky’s gas tax receipts)," said Rep. Collins.
Despite the concerns from lawmakers, Kentucky’s gasoline tax will rise 2.4 cents next month to a little over 32 cents a gallon—something that could generate $900 million in new revenue over the next fiscal year. The hike comes as a result of a tax increase state lawmakers wrote into law more than 30 years ago.