Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Announces Rocket Docket Grants of $1.2 Million for Prosecutors
Attorney General Jack Conway and members of the Prosecutors Advisory Council today announced that 18 Commonwealth's Attorneys Offices and 26 County Attorneys Offices across the Commonwealth have been selected for funding to implement, expand, or enhance "Rocket Docket" programs. Rocket Docket programs are a collaborative program between the local Commonwealth's Attorney and the local County Attorney to expedite cases through the judicial system. The goals of Rocket Dockets include:
• Expedited review of lower-level drug and drug-related offenses;
• Quicker identification and access for defendants in need of substance abuse treatment;
• Unclogging court dockets and freeing up valuable resources for the judicial system to focus on more serious criminal offenses;
• Cost savings to local county jails as offenders spend less time awaiting resolution of their cases.
"Since being elected Attorney General, one of my top priorities has been fighting the drug epidemic that is crippling Kentucky communities," said Attorney General Jack Conway. "Not only do these grants have the potential of making the justice system faster and more efficient, they enable non-violent, lower-level offenders with substance abuse issues to receive rehabilitation and treatment. It will also provide cost savings to local governments. My office will continue to assist prosecutors throughout Kentucky to ensure these programs are successful."
Rocket Dockets have proven successful in a number of jurisdictions. For example, in just 18 months, the Hardin County Rocket Docket Program has saved the county approximately $600,000 in jail costs by decreasing the average days spent awaiting disposition from 180 day to just 45 days.
"The implementation of Rocket Docket in Hardin County has benefited all parties involved," said Hardin County Commonwealth's Attorney Shane Young. "Rocket Docket has expedited cases, resulted in significant jail cost savings for county government, and allowed defendants with addiction issues to be placed in treatment quicker."
Likewise the Boone County Rocket Docket program saved approximately $135,000 in its first seven months of existence and those cost savings are expected to grow. In these and other jurisdictions that currently have Rocket Dockets, the monthly jail population is smaller, worthy defendants are receiving drug treatment faster and more efficiently, and cases are moving more quickly through the system.
"This Rocket Docket funding will greatly enhance our ability to expedite lower-level felony offenses, which are predominantly offenses fueled by addiction," said Prosecutors Advisory Council member and Boone and Gallatin Counties Commonwealth's Attorney Linda Talley Smith. "This process significantly reduces the crippling costs of pretrial incarceration on our counties' budgets, but more importantly, it moves offenders more quickly from jail beds to treatment beds. I appreciate Attorney General Conway and the Council funding my program in northern Kentucky."
The funding for these grants was provided to the Prosecutors Advisory Council by the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet from funding it received through Senate Bill 192, also known as the "Heroin Bill." Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown allocated $1.2 million to the Council for Rocket Dockets. Due to the collaborative nature of Rocket Dockets, joint applications were required from the Commonwealth's Attorneys and the County Attorneys. The Office of the Attorney General and the Council reviewed 35 joint grant applications and approved 18 for funding. These programs will be monitored to ensure they meet all criteria outlined by the Justice Cabinet and the Council.
"The Council reviewed each application on its merits, along with the needs of every office that applied," said Prosecutors Advisory Council member and Christian County Attorney Mike Foster. "Since the funding originated with the Heroin Bill, we felt it was important to fund jurisdictions we believed could make the most impact in combatting the opioid epidemic."
The following Commonwealth's Attorneys and County Attorneys Offices received grant money to implement, expand, or enhance Rocket Dockets:
CIRCUIT - COUNTIES - GRANT AWARD (W/OUT FRINGE**)
1 - Ballard, Carlisle, Fulton, Hickman - $ 25,000
3 - Christian - $ 40,000
6 - Daviess - $ 45,000
8 - Warren - $ 43,000
9 - Hardin - $ 25,000
13 - Jessamine - $ 20,000
16 - Kenton - $ 60,000
17 - Campbell - $ 60,000
19 - Bracken, Fleming, Mason - $ 25,000
25 - Madison - $ 38,000
27 - Laurel - $ 25,000
28 - Pulaski - $ 45,000
30 - Jefferson - $ 108,000
39 - Breathitt - $ 25,000
47 - Letcher - $ 20,000
53 - Anderson/Shelby/Spencer - $ 19,000
54 - Boone and Gallatin - $ 60,000
55 - Bullitt - $ 25,000
**Fringe benefits were calculated separately depending on the number of approved positions. The total grant awards, including fringe benefits totaled $1.2 million.