Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Governor Beshear Directs Justice Secretary to Move Forward on Criminal Justice Reform

Press Release Date:  Thursday, March 06, 2008  
Contact Information:  Dick Brown

FRANKFORT, KY – As mentioned in his budget address, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, has directed Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown to move forward with a comprehensive review of Kentucky’s penal code, sentencing guidelines and other issues relating to the escalating costs of the state’s criminal justice system, especially regarding prisons and jails.

Brown will utilize the Kentucky Criminal Justice Council and charge it with reviewing available information on these issues, reaching out to interested parties and developing practical recommendations to address these critical problems.

There is a vast body of research that already exists on penal code and sentencing reform. That research was developed over the last few years by a number of expert panels and criminal justice professionals, including the Council, which Brown now chairs.

“Time is of the essence, and there’s no need to start from scratch,” Gov. Beshear said. “We must move beyond academic debate and study to the realm of decisive action. We must take steps to control the costs of an escalating prison population in sensible ways, and we must do so in ways that do not jeopardize the safety and protection of our communities.”

Recommendations that don’t require legislative passage will be submitted immediately to the appropriate regulatory body, if needed, and become effective upon their approval.  Recommendations for statutory changes will be due to Gov. Beshear no later than Dec.1, 2008, so a package can be submitted for consideration by the 2009 General Assembly.