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Kentucky Lags Behind, But Improves Ranking in Economic Freedom Report

Last month, the Frasier Institute released its Economic Freedom Report for 2020. The data is compiled for the year 2018 which is the latest data available and is comprised of 10 metrics across three categories: government spending, taxes, and labor regulations. When these metrics are combined, Kentucky is left with a 5.45 score, putting the Commonwealth in 39th place in the nation—an improvement from 2017 (5.24).


Nearly Half of Kentucky’s Workforce Has Filed for Unemployment

Between March 6th and June 13th, Kentuckians filed 970,541 unemployment claims. Roughly 47 percent of the state’s labor force – or the population 16 years or older that is currently employed or actively looking for work – is unable to find work. COVID-19 continues to have a particularly significant impact on employment in the Bluegrass state, in part because of the restrictions put in place to try slow the spread of the virus. Many Kentuckians worked in the manufacturing or service industries, which made working from home impossible. Even as states begin to loosen the restrictions on their economies, Kentucky is second in the nation for the percentage of the labor force that has filed for unemployment, following Georgia at 54 percent.


40 Restaurants Join Lawsuit Against Governor

As coronavirus regulations continue to plague restaurants and businesses, some restaurant owners filed a lawsuit against the Governor for unfair and overly restrictive requirements. Back Door owner, John Dant, and Dundee Tavern owner, Alan Hincks, sued the state in late August. Since then, 40 other restaurants and bars from all over Kentucky have joined the lawsuit. Doc Crows, Goodwood, and Overtime in Louisville as well as Hilligans in Bowling Green are just some of the notable restaurants that have signed on.

Currently, the minimum requirements to be open in Kentucky are:


Homicides in Louisville


OPINION: Remove felony ban from KEES scholarship Copy

One of the most important indicators of the economic health of state is the percentage of its population with a college degree. Unfortunately, Kentucky has historically had an exceptionally low college attainment rate.

In fact, a 2020 Wallethub ranking placed Kentucky 47th in the nation for the percentage of the population with bachelor’s degrees. Only 53 percent of Kentucky high school graduates enrolled in postsecondary education one year after high school, far below the national average of 69%. An individual’s decision to not pursue education after high school hinders both individuals and the state economy as a whole.


Fair Chance Act offers opportunity for ex-offenders

The Fair Chance Act has passed in the House as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill codifies President Obama’s 2015 “ban the box” rule, which removed the criminal history question from job applications.

The Fair Chance Act would apply to job applications in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of federal government and extend to individual contractors working on government grants within private companies. It is important to note that the law does not stop employers from inquiring about criminal history, it simply prohibits them from doing so until the conditional offer stage. It also includes important exceptions for positions in law enforcement and national security, as well as those trusted with classified information.


Nearly half of all probation and parole sentences in Kentucky result in incarceration

Kentucky’s expanding prison population has been a source of conversation and policy debate for years now, but probation and parole—two of the largest channels into the prison system—have largely been absent from these conversations.

Kentucky’s recidivism rate, the rate at which people return to prison, was 32.2 percent in 2016. That equates to about 6,000 potential recidivists from the 18,640 released prisoners in 2016. During the same year, 52 percent of people on parole, or 6,210 individuals, ended parole by being incarcerated. Similarly, 40 percent of those exiting probation, or 7,175 individuals, entered prison. In sum, more than 13,000 people entered prison from community supervision in 2016. This number is more than double the number of prisoners returning to prison, or the cohort we use to calculate recidivism. If recidivism numbers are important because they numerically represent the successes or failures of supervision, then those entering prison from parole or probation must be included. Despite this, Kentucky’s reform efforts continue to focus primarily on prison recidivism as the primary target of reform and spending. In fact, our prison system receives 6 times as much funding as probation and parole.


Criminal Justice Reform Debate Needs Honest Discussion On Policing

There are few things the political left and right in America agree on. Criminal justice reform, however, is one area where these opposing spectrums have found common ground.

Lawmakers of varying political stripes around the country are experiencing an awakening around criminal justice reform. Nationwide, more than 30 states have realized that a different approach to sentencing and corrections is needed to rehabilitate offenders, reduce recidivism, and save taxpayer money.

While worthwhile and long overdue, these reforms are reactive approaches that touch only one aspect of the criminal justice system. Absent from the criminal justice reform movement, especially on the national level, has been any real attempts to critically examine the state of policing.

Until now.


Oklahoma Governor Signs Promising Criminal Justice Reforms

<p class="font_8"><span style=""><a dataquery="#textLink_iqjr10ro">Erinn Broadus</a></span><br>
May 4, 2016, 3:26pm</p>

<p class="font_8"><span class="wixGuard">​</span></p>

<p class="font_8">Last week, Oklahoma Governor, Mary Fallin, signed four criminal justice bills aimed at reducing the prison population without compromising public safety. “Our state prisons are filled to well over capacity, so it is crucial that we make some changes to our criminal justice system”&nbsp;<span style=""><a dataquery="#textLink_iqjr10ro1">explained</a></span>&nbsp;Fallin. The content within these bills came from recommendations from those within the criminal justice field, including judges, district attorneys and public defenders.</p>

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Georgia Governor Signs Additional Criminal Justice Reforms

<p class="font_8"><span style=""><a dataquery="#textLink_iqjqzjxp">Erinn Broadus</a></span><br>
May 12, 2016, 5:21pm</p>

<p class="font_8"><span class="wixGuard">​</span></p>

<p class="font_8">Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recently signed SB 367 into law, which builds upon the series of criminal justice reforms that have been enacted in the state over the past several years.&nbsp; Speaking to the bill, Governor Deal&nbsp;<span style=""><a dataquery="#textLink_iqjqzjxp1">said,</a></span>&nbsp;“The incentives included in this legislation are cost-effective strategies that will increase the number of former offenders returning to the workforce and supporting their families.”</p>

<p class="font_8">The bill does&nbsp;</p>

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Iowa Takes First Steps Toward Criminal Justice Reform

Last week, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed several criminal justice reforms into law. House File 2064 loosened sentencing requirements for some nonviolent drug offenders, while increasing penalties for child endangerment crimes.

House File 2064 does the following:


U.S. Sentencing Commission Approves Changes to Compassionate Release Guidelines

Last week, the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) expanded the guidelines that the Federal Bureau of Prisons uses to determine if elderly inmates are eligible for early release, otherwise known as compassionate release. Previously, prisoners were eligible if certain “extraordinary and compelling” reasons existed for their release. The amended changes broaden what is considered “extraordinary and compelling” and group them into four categories: medical conditions, age, family circumstances, and other:

Medical Condition of the Defendant

Has a “terminal illness”, (defined as a serious and advanced illness with an end of life trajectory),
Is suffering from a serious condition,
Is suffering from a serious functional or cognitive impairment, or
Experiencing deteriorating health because of the aging process to which he or she is not expected to recover.

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