The conservative approach to criminal justice:
fighting crime, supporting victims, and protecting taxpayers.

Fixing Kentucky’s Prison Overcrowding Problem

| September 14, 2017

They say the first step to fixing a problem is to recognize that there is a problem. I give a lot of credit to the leadership in Kentucky. They have not shied away from recognizing the problems in their criminal justice system and have moved to address these issues head on. From juvenile justice to prisoner re-entry, the state has adopted a number of important reforms that will improve public safety, provide opportunities for those with criminal records to better themselves, and save taxpayer dollars.

With all the work that has been done, there is still much more left to do. The current and most urgent issue is the severe overcrowding of Kentucky’s prisons. A working group from the Governor’s Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council, chaired by Kentucky’s Justice and Public Safety Secretary, John Tilley, has convened to study the problem. With the technical assistance provided by the Crime and Justice Institute, the goal of the working group is to develop fiscally sound recommendations aimed at decreasing the state’s inmate population while increasing public safety.

I commend Kentucky’s leadership for its continued commitment to bettering the state’s criminal justice system. The issues presented do not have simple solutions, and it is a process that will not happen overnight. However, Kentucky’s leaders continue to take the next step from recognizing a problem, to boldly committing themselves to fixing it—no matter how long it takes. That is how you fix things.


JULIE WARREN is a graduate of Marshall University and of Regent University School of Law. She also attended Georgetown Law Center as a visiting student. While in law school, she clerked on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Julie served four years at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. After a few years in private practice as a civil defense litigator, Julie returned to public service and began her work in the Office of the West Virginia Attorney General where she primarily served as an appellate advocate for the State of West Virginia and as legislative counsel to the Attorney General.