Nearly 900 state inmates have been released from Kentucky prisons and jails since late May under a policy change on parole credit approved this year as part of the state budget. Another 887 convicted felons have been released from parole supervision, says the Lexington Herald-Leader. The change, little noticed by many when it was made, is causing concern and criticism from people who say it is misguided and potentially dangerous. One prosecutor has challenged the rule, saying it is unconstitutional and setting up what could be a pitched legal battle.
A lawmaker who worked on the provision said it was necessary to save money at a time when state revenue has fallen and the prison population has swollen because of tougher laws and efforts to fight drugs. The legislature approved several measures this year to cut the cost of housing inmates, including quicker consideration of parole for some inmates, giving inmates more time off their sentences for earning degrees or completing certain drug- or alcohol-treatment programs, and shaving time off sentences for inmates with good behavior. Commonwealth’s Attorney Eddy Montgomery has filed a motion that argues the parole-credit rule runs afoul of the state constitution and judges’ sentencing orders.