Fraction of inmates released early have reoffended so far: Judge

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Contrary to public safety concerns among citizens, only a fraction of jail inmates released in March and April to await trial at home rather than in jail have re-offended, state judicial leaders said last week.

And that comes as more than 6,000 inmates were released, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported, citing Chief Justice John Minton Jr.’s testimony to the Legislature’s Joint Interim Committee on the Judiciary.

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“I’m pleased to report that the re-arrest rate for defendants released by pretrial services between April 15 and May 31 of 2020 was 4.6 percent, which was the same re-arrest rate for defendants released by pretrial services during the same period in 2019,” Minton told the committee, according to the newspaper.

The state released 6,024 people before trial as a coronavirus-related measure. Of those 276 were re-arrested during the six weeks, Minton said in his repirt. That was almost twice the 143 people released during the same period the previous year. But during 2019, only 3,124 people were released, according to the newspaper’s report on Minton’s testimony.

The newspaper also reported coronavirus-related change by the courts, prosecutors and jails have helped push down jail populations 32 percent from 24,449 to 16,452 from late February through late May, the newspaper reported,m citing the Vera Institute.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak began in March, the state’s daily arrest rate averaged between 500 and 700, according to Minton’s statement to legislators. The daily arrest average fell to 193 in April before gradually increasing to about 300 last week, according to the newspaper.