After leading the nation in the rate of prison population growth just three years ago, Kentucky has stemmed the tide and can close one of its 13 prisons, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. At the same time, closing the minimum-security Frankfort Career Development Center and transferring its 205 inmates to other facilities will solve another state problem: the need for a new training academy for the Kentucky State Police, a facility that, if built from scratch, would have cost an estimated $35 million.
Officials estimated that the state will save about $575,000 by transferring the 362-acre property to the state police. J. Michael Brown, secretary of the justice cabinet, said a drop in the inmate recidivism rate, along with legislative changes in the penal code that provide more options for dealing with non-violent, non-sexual offenders, means the state doesn't need so many prison beds. The new law allows Corrections to put low-risk offenders in alternative settings, such as halfway houses and substance abuse treatment programs. In 2008 the Pew Center on the States said Kentucky had the fastest-growing prison population in the nation, swelling to a high of 22,402. The past two years have seen a reduction, with the current population about 20,500.