LOUISVILLE - An independent study has found that inmates released early under a new state law are less likely to re-offend.
The Courier-Journal reports the study by the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts is the first to quantitatively measure how successful the law has been.
The measure took effect in 2012. It is aimed at saving $420 million over 10 years by decreasing the number of prisoners in part by releasing some early under supervision.
The Pew study tracked some of the first prisoners released and found that they were 30 percent less likely to commit new crimes compared to inmates released in previous years with no supervision.
"It's very exciting to see a state use data and research to drive policy, get beyond partisan posturing, and have such great initial results," said Adam Gelb, director of Pew's Public Safety Performance Project. "The Kentucky experience is going to resonate loudly around the country for policy makers interested in more effective, less expensive ways to handle offenders."
Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, who lead the task force that composed the legislation, said it isn't easy to measure the overall success of the reforms. He said municipalities have saved about $40 million from efforts to reduce inmates at jails.
Louisville Metro Department of Corrections Director Mark Bolton said the jail currently has about 1,800 inmates, the lowest amount in about 10 years.
"I'm not going to get overly excited because I think we're really early in the game," Bolton said. "But some of these early reports show that we're moving in the right direction. More work needs to be done."
Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown says the study shows the reforms are working.
"This validates what the General Assembly did," Brown said. "Let's spend our dollars wisely, every dollar we overspend in some area, we can't spend in another area. This stuff is expensive."