Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Kentucky's prisons are full. In fact, we have the 9th highest incarceration rate in the nation. On top of it, we're seeing the prison population increase even though the national prison population is declining. According to the Justice Reinvestment Work Group, Kentucky’s inmate population will increase by 19 percent over the next ten years and cost taxpayers an additional $600 million. One of the main reasons for the prison increase is due to low-level drug offenses. Prison may not be the place for low-level offenders but neither is the decriminalization of drugs as some are advocating today. Education and addiction programs can help, but it’s time to look deeper. Until we address the heart of the matter, we may have fewer people in prison, but they'll still be prisoners of their own vices.