State prisons are at capacity, county jails are overcrowded and the state is recommending transferring about 1,600 inmates to private prisons that have been shuttered for the past several years.
Officials ended the state’s last private prison contract in 2013, partly as a cost savings measure and also in response to scandals at privately owned prisons in the state.
John Tilley, secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, said that it was “critical” that the Kentucky consider reopening the private prisons. He said past efforts to reduce the prison population haven’t panned out.
“Parole grant rates are not where we thought they would be,” Tilley said. “Revocations of those on parole are higher than they were projected. And generally there’s so much discretion built into the court system.”
Tilley said that many judges throughout the state haven’t bought into prison reforms, instead sentencing convicted criminals to incarceration over diversion or treatment programs that would keep people out of prison.