The newly formed Criminal Justice Policy Council, of which Grayson County Jailer Jason Woosley is a member, held its first meeting June 21, 2016 in Frankfort.
The council, which has 19 members from a cross-section of state representatives and senators, law-enforcement officials, academicians and other state officials, was formed by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin with the intent of revising the current justice system to reduce the number of prisoners in the penal system through changes in statutes, as well as new programs to reintroduce former prisoners back into society.
The first meeting was used to introduce the members to one another and to review what some other states have been doing to revise their criminal justice systems. The council heard reviews of changes to current laws in Utah, Mississippi and Maryland.
Utah has made significant changes to its criminal code, among other things reclassifying over 150 offenses from Class C misdemeanors to “infractions” and reclassifying some Class B misdemeanors to Class C misdemeanors.
Utah also reclassified drug possession from a third degree felony to a Class A misdemeanor for the first two convictions. A third conviction would be a felony.
Mississippi has created thresholds for larceny and controlled substances, redefined drug trafficking, provided clear sanctions for technical violations, and made changes to the parole system.
Among other changes, Maryland created different penalties for first, second and third offenses for drug possession.
The council will be meeting several times over the next few months and will eventually make recommendations back to the governor about what changes may need to be made to Kentucky statutes.
Reach Don Brown at 270-259-9622, ext. 2016.