Residents of Louisville’s Newburg neighborhood have been voicing fears about unsupervised groups of ex-prisoners living together in houses and walking the streets at all hours, says the Louisville Courier-Journal. “It’s a problem, and there’s a need for something to happen,” said Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin. A recent study by the city calls for bringing together government, nonprofit and faith-based groups to monitor and provide ex-prisoners in Newburg with services such as drug testing and treatment and job training. If approved and funded, the Newburg pilot program, proposed in the city’s “Justice Reinvestment Project” study, would be the first of its kind in Kentucky.
It would be among only a few similar efforts in the nation to address the rapidly increasing numbers of prisoners returning to communities, says Susan Tucker of the New York-based Open Society Institute. If the pilot program in Newburg could reduce the number of repeat offenders and reduce crime, Louisville officials say it would be expanded to other neighborhoods and Tucker said it “could end up being a model” for the nation. The city plans to seek funding from The Open Society Institute, which provided $50,000 for the study. In Kentucky, which leads the nation in the rate of growth of prisoners on probation, 10,308 prisoners were released in 2003, a 67 percent increase in eight years.