08/18/2010 - Over the course of nearly a decade, Kentucky increased spending by 300 percent to incarcerate people but boosted funding just 126 percent for higher education. That may be a chicken-or-the-egg argument, since many experts say that there's often a direct correlation between educational achievement and crime.
What is clear, however, is that after nearly a decade of boasting one of America's fastest-growing prison populations, the chickens finally have come home to roost. And that's a good thing — good because at last many top Democrats and Republicans appear to have gotten on the same page and concluded that alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders are both a viable and less costly option.
And this is where the Pew Center on the States will come in — not to tell Kentucky what most of its leaders already know, which is that the corrections system is expensive and is broken in some very important ways — but as Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, told The Courier-Journal, to seize one of these rare moments when all three branches of government and both legislative chambers are, he believes, committed to fixing a problem.
Read the editorial Jailhouse Dollars in its entirety on the Courier-Journal Web site.