Bill would help find ways for inmates to better transition into society

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state House of Representatives unanimously passed a measure Thursday aimed at better addressing the needs of people reentering society from incarceration.

HB 53, sponsored by state Rep. Kim Moser of Taylor Mill, creates a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on Persons Returning to Society from Incarceration. This committee would act in an advisory capacity to the Advisory Council for Medical Assistance.

“The only way to adequately address the needs of people reentering society from incarceration is by understanding the structural barriers they face to accessing assistance,” Moser said. “We want these individuals to be contributing community members and to transition in a manner that sets them up for long-term success. Many times, people involved in the criminal justice system deal with underlying mental health problems and substance use issues. It’s critical that we bring stakeholder and experts in to address barriers to individuals returning from incarceration.”

The newly created advisory committee will have representatives from the following organizations: The Kentucky Jailers Association, the Kentucky Medical Association, the Kentucky Association of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse-Midwives, Community Action of Kentucky, the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky, the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, a Kentucky civil legal aid program, the Kentucky Department of Corrections, the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, the Kentucky Association of Regional Programs, the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts and a formerly incarcerated individual who is a current or former Medicaid recipient who will be appointed by Mental Health America of Kentucky.

In addition to creating the Technical Advisory Committee the legislation also adds two new representatives to the Advisory Council for Medical Assistance. Those representatives will serve on behalf of the Kentucky Primary Care Association and the Kentucky Association of Hospice and Palliative Care. Additional members will also be named to the TAC on Consumer Rights and Client Needs, and the TAC on Behavioral Health.

The legislation would also add someone from a consumer advocacy group to represent individuals reentering society following incarceration to the Advisory Council for Medical Assistance.

AMoser identified HB 53 as one of the House Health and Family Services Committee’s top priorities. She and other members of the House Majority Caucus held a press conference discussing this bill with representatives from the Kentucky Medical Association and the Kentucky Primary Care Association.

The legislation will now move to the Senate for consideration.

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