Commonwealth Policy Center

Kentucky’s Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Public Safety John Tilley told lawmakers about challenges faced by the Corrections Department. Currently, close to 24,000 Kentuckians are behind bars and an additional 48,000 are on parole or probation. It takes a lot of money to keep our society safe. In fact, Kentucky’s corrections budget is $650 million per year, but according to Secretary Tilley, that’s not enough. He told legislators that turnover is a major issue in corrections, especially with juvenile justice workers, mostly because they aren’t paid enough compared to other states. State Police Crime Lab employees are often paid half of what surrounding states pay. Tilley is asking for more funds from lawmakers. But as citizens, we should ask ourselves what we can do to alleviate the burden on our criminal justice system.