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Kentucky Prison Costs Soar

From Kentucky Public Radio's Tony McVeighPrison costs in Kentucky are skyrocketing and state lawmakers know something must be done to get the situation under control.Recent research by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce indicates the state’s corrections budget is growing faster than total state government spending. Since 2000, total General Fund spending rose by 33-percent, but spending on corrections rose 44-percent.Chamber President David Adkisson says the state is spending more to house inmates than it spends on education.“We think the point makes itself," says Adkisson. "Kentucky is spending more to address the costs of failing to invest in education than it is on students who represent its hopes for the future.”The interim Judiciary Committee, which is studying the issue, heard several suggestions for reducing prison costs.Among them are more drug and alcohol intervention programs, more reliance on faith-based initiatives and revision of the state’s complex penal code. Corrections reform is expected to be a major issue before the 2010 General Assembly.