Governor Matt Bevin has created a criminal justice reform panel to deal with the fact that, once again, the KY prison population has grown out of control. Read the C-J’s article here.
This sobering news comes despite bills in recent years designed specifically to address the problem. Maybe someone else needs to design those bills?
Here are 5 suggestions that are working elsewhere in the world and will work in KY:
1. Stop prosecuting victimless crimes.
The task force needs to look at how many of the KY prison population are in jail because the state went after someone for breaking a law when NO ONE WAS HURT. No victim, no crime.
2. State-subsidized rehab is jail and theft of tax money.
Don’t forget to add in the numbers of KY citizens in state-subsidized rehab. Not everyone who smokes pot or drives drunk needs rehab, yet users are “sentenced” to rehab without hesitation. State-subsidized rehab = jail.
This rehab thing is just another tax-money-hogging scheme implemented by the state to reward voters in the rehab business while claiming to be “compassionate” and minimizing the jail population. This has clearly failed.
3. True addiction is a medical crisis not a judicial one.
Stop jailing truly sick people. Make sure there is at least ONE recovering alcoholic and/or drug addict on that task force.
4. Legalize medical Cannabis
And make sure pain-relief and withdrawal help is on the list of conditions. No-brainer here, yet KY is once again far behind the times due to puritan and ignorant thinking in the legislature.
The pill mill bill is DIRECTLY responsible for the rise in heroin addiction. You don’t solve a drug crisis created by prohibition with more prohibition! The proof of this is everywhere, both historically and in modern times, yet KY legislators have a hard time admitting they made a mistake.
What Will the Task Force Do?
Will the task force listen to common sense and politically incorrect ideas (that are working all over the world, including in the U.S.)? Or will it continue to push failed prohibition tactics? We’ll know when the members are chosen: will it be populated by drug warriors or by thinking, intelligent problem-solvers?
I am going to keep an open mind, and hope that KY’s past enthusiasm for continuing failed prohibition tactics is over. Let’s learn a lesson from history for a change, instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again.