Justice and Public Safety Cabinet
Kentucky Tops the Nation in Probation Growth
Frankfort, KY – Kentucky tops the nation in the rate of growth of our probation population, according to figures released this week by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Kentucky, at a 15 percent growth rate, was one of only four states to report a growth in excess of 10 percent or more. The three others were Mississippi (12 percent), New Mexico (11 percent) and New Jersey (10 percent).
“This growth underscores the Department’s additional community corrections need and the emphasis we are giving it in our 2006-08 budget request just submitted to the General Assembly,” said John D. Rees, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections. “This rate of growth translates into over 300 new probationers per month, which is why we have to have additional officers.”
Kentucky’s high rate of growth is an anomaly, as nationwide the adult probation population grew at just 0.2 percent during 2004, the smallest growth rate since the survey began in 1979.
“A 15% growth in our general probation supervision caseloads, in conjunction with the more time intensive sex offender supervision caseloads demand, only demonstrates further our need for more Probation and Parole Officers,” said Lelia VanHoose, director of Kentucky’s Division of Probation & Parole. “The Division of Probation & Parole strives to provide the Commonwealth with services needed to ensure a safer and more secure community. However, with this growth rate, we will need additional officers and equipment to continue our high level of service.”
Probationers are offenders that have been charged, found guilty, sentenced and then placed on conditional supervision in the community. According to the Department of Justice, 50 percent of all probationers have been convicted of a misdemeanor, 49 percent of a felony and one percent for “other” infractions. Twenty-six percent were on probation for a drug law violation, and 15 percent for driving while intoxicated.
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