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Large Number of Women in Ky Prisons Prompts Call for Reforms


Representatives of four different groups are calling for more attention to the number of women incarcerated in Kentucky. 

The groups claim much of that imprisonment stems from low level non-violent drug crimes.

According to the Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council, Kentucky incarcerates more women per capita than all but four other states.  During a teleconference yesterday, Smart on Crime organizer Amanda Hall spoke about her experience.  After a car accident, she developed an addiction to pain medication that eventually landed her in prison. “We cannot continue to lock away the problem.  It only returns and I’m an example of that,” said Hall.

Hall credits her five years of sobriety to a drug recovery center.

Proposed criminal justice reforms include increasing the felony theft threshold for conviction from $500 to $1000 and creating a new misdemeanor category for certain drug crimes.  

Kentucky Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys President Courtney Baxter says that could be shifting the cost to local governments. “The cost for incarceration of those folks rest on the county’s shoulders,” noted Baxter.

Baxter says misdemeanor crimes like certain drug possessions or trespassing could result in up to a year in jail.  

The LaGrange commonwealth’s attorney says prosecutors wouldn’t object to some adjustment in the theft threshold.  The matter could get further review in the upcoming General Assembly session.  

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