COVID-19 prompts inmate release; mail voting a “real possibility”

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state will begin release low-level inmates who are in the at-risk coronavirus category but are almost finished with their sentences and were convicted of non-violent and non sex-related offenses.

And Gov. Andy Beshear applauded Secretary of State Michael Adams for at least planning for significant changes to the June 23 state primary, which already has been moved from May.

“It is a real possibility,” Beshear said during his daily briefing Thursday about the possibility of mail-in voting for the primary.

“If we are still in the same situation we are in right now with the coronavirus, I am not sending poll workers in for in-person voting,” Beshear said, noting many poll workers are older and fall in the at-risk coronavirus category.

“The Secretary of State is certainly right to be looking at all the options,” Beshear said of Adams.

Recently approved legislation gives Adams flexibility such as mail-in voting.

The state still is looking at legal issues that could include whether emergency powers would allow the primary to be postponed again.

Meanwhile, Michael Brown, who oversees the corrections population, outlined the plan the state has been using to review inmates for possible release.

The first step will be 186 inmates Friday. The inmates, who have been convicted on Class C and D felonies, must pass final health screenings at their facility, have a home to go to and do 14-day quarantines and not commit any crimes.

The state also has identified another 743 inmates who likely will be released next week under the same guidelines and standards. They are within six months of the end of their sentence.

The move is designed to “lighten the load” on prison staffs while protecting staffs and inmates from the virus.


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