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ACLU Calls For Change In Way People Are Jailed in KY

The ACLU says Kentucky ranks #9 overall nationally for the rate of people incarcerated, #2 for women.

Statistics show Kentucky jails a higher percentage of people than most states, ninth overall and second for women, and the ACLU is calling for legislative action to alleviate the overcrowding.

During an "Action for Justice" event in Covington Wednesday evening, the ACLU plans to make a case for bail reform, pro-active rehabilitation for drug users and changes in apparent racial disparities among juveniles.

Bail Reform

ACLU Smart Justice Field Organizer Amanda Hall says even the Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court  made the case earlier this year for bail reform, as reported by WKU Radio.

Chief Justice John Minton, Jr. says the current method of setting bail disproportionately affects low-income defendants who aren't able to pay for release. Hall adds, "Even for a few days this could have tremendous consequences on a person's life. They could lose their job, even family, housing."

Pro-active Rehabilitation

Drugs are the reason many inmates are in prison.  Some addicts may end up in jail while waiting for treatments that require prior authorization. Representative Kim Moser wrote a commentary in the Northern Kentucky Tribune about legislation she and Senator Ralph Alvarado introduced to take away some of the barriers, Senate Bill 143.

Juvenile Justice

The ACLU says three out of four teens jailed in Louisville are black. Hall says racial disparities are statewide. She would like to see proposed legislation to prevent it introduced again.

Hall is trying to be realistic. "Everything isn't going to change in one year. But some things we are really hopeful, could happen this year."

Other "Action for Justice" events are planned: Nov. 28 in Lexington at The Plantory and Dec. 13 in Bowling Green at Spencer's Coffee.