Governor says he trusts the courts to determine best remedy for housing state inmates
Governor Beshear says his administration trusts the court system to work through the laws. He’s talking about the lawsuit filed by the Kentucky Jailers Association and four jailers against the state Department of Corrections. County jailers are suing over the costs of housing, feeding, and providing medical care for state prisoners.
Governor Beshear said some of what county jailers are challenging is statutory, which the State Department of Corrections has to follow. The governor noted jailers and counties are doing their best just like state corrections.
“Certainly the intake that is required to move somebody from a jail to a prison is much smaller than the number of people who are waiting. And it simply takes time to get them through that process. But, I trust the courts to work it out. We want to work with our Counties. We appreciate the job they do.”
Governor Beshear addressed the Kentucky Association of Counties Wednesday.
Afterward, the governor said an addition is being made to one state prison, but it’s not intended to increase capacity. Beshear said more criminal justice reforms are needed to better determine who goes to prison
Asked about using some of the state budget surpluses to send additional funds to local jails, the governor said more dollars were provided to county jails in the last session and the General Assembly will have that opportunity in the current session as well.
Attorney Jeff Mando, representing four county jailers, said the suit seeks a declaratory judgment to speed up the moving of inmates to prisons. He said local jailers also seek to negotiate with the state over the amount needed to cover state prisoner costs.
Mando noted the lawsuit has implications for all county jails across the Commonwealth.
“We feel confident that we have the law on our side. We feel confident that equity is on our side. We’re hopeful that the Department of Corrections will see this lawsuit as an opportunity to sit down with local jailers and resolve this but if they don’t, we’re prepared to go forward and we’re going to move it as expeditiously as we possibly can,” said Mando.
Mando says there’s no target date regarding a final resolution.
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