46 inmates set for early release from MAC, county jail

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Kentucky scheduled to release 985 inmates statewide in January

By Stephen Lega

When Gov. Steve Beshear signed HB 463 into law in March, he praised it as a bipartisan piece of legislation aimed at addressing a problem hurting Kentucky "financially and socially."
The law has been hailed as a cost-saving measure at a time with the state government is hurting for revenue. State officials have estimated it will save the state $420 million over the next 10 years.
A big part of that savings, however, will result from 985 inmates being released  Jan. 3 from prisons and county jails across Kentucky, according to the information provided by the Kentucky Department of Corrections last week. Letting inmates out early saves the state money, but it also means lost revenue for local facilities that house state prisoners.
Twenty-five inmates are scheduled to be released from Marion Adjustment Center, and 21 inmates are scheduled to be released from Marion County Detention Center, according to the Department of Corrections.
Kentucky pays MAC $45.91 per day to house minimum-security inmates and $50.07 per day to house medium security inmates, according to information on the Department of Corrections website. The state pays $34.91 per day to house inmates at Marion County Detention Center.
If those beds remain empty, MAC could be looking at a revenue decrease of more than $32,000 in January. MCDC could be looking at a revenue reduction of more than $20,500.
Marion County Jailer Barry Brady said the jail's count as of last Wednesday was 255 inmates, which means the jail had 43 empty beds already. Another 21 empty beds, could mean the total revenue loss in January could exceed $60,000 for the jail.
"Hopefully, we can hold our ground here," Brady said. "Hopefully, it turns around."
Brady does not think the decrease in revenue will affect staff at the detention center at this point. Before he would need to consider layoffs, the daily count would have to drop far enough that the jail could close off an entire section.
"I'd have to get below 90 [empty] beds and stay there," Brady said.
MAC officials also think they will be able to maintain a full staff despite the revenue decrease.
"It won't hurt how we run things here," said Jessica Wade, MAC's public information officer.
When he signed the bill, Beshear said the state's prison population grew from 5,700 inmates in 1985 to more than 20,700 inmates in 2010. He also noted that between 1990 and 2000, state spending to house inmates increased from $140 million to $440 million annually.
"Every dollar spent on an inmate is a dollar that could have gone toward things like classroom teaching, children's dental care, creating jobs and expanding technology," Beshear said.
According to the Department of Corrections, the inmates that are eligible for early release must be within six months of serving out their original sentence and they will remain under the supervision of a parole officer after they are released. Seventy percent of the prisoners scheduled for early release have been convicted of a Class D felony. More than half of the inmates to be released are currently housed in county jails, and 204 of them are currently under home incarceration.
Inmates convicted of Class A felonies, classified as maximum or close security or who are otherwise ineligible for parole are not eligible for early release.

Four inmates to reside in Marion County
The Kentucky Department of Corrections has provided information about each of the 985 inmates scheduled to be released Jan. 1 under the provisions of HB 463, which was signed into law in March.
Four of the inmates are scheduled to reside in Marion County. They are:
- Glenn Burch, 41, who was convicted of flagrant non-support and first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance first degree.
- Joseph Daugherty, 37, who was convicted of third-degree burglary, first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree fleeing or evading police (motor vehicle) and first-degree wanton endangerment (police officer).
- Randall Garrett, 27, who was convicted of theft by unlawful taking.
- Quinton Hawkins, 34, who was convicted of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance first offense.