Legislation adds another tool to try to help inmates transition from prison

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)Legislation establishing a committee to develop ways to help people transition from prison back into their communities has become law.

Sponsored by state Rep. Kim Moser of Taylor Mill, HB 53 creates a Technical Advisory Committee on Persons Returning to Society from Incarceration.

“The only way to adequately address the needs of people reentering society from incarceration is by understanding the barriers they face. It’s critical that we bring in advice and expertise from stakeholders who are committed to implementing meaningful reforms,” Moser said.

The newly created advisory committee will include 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 will also add someone from a consumer advocacy group to represent individuals reentering society following incarceration to the Advisory Council for Medical Assistance.

All Technical Advisory Committees act as advisors to the Advisory Council for Medical Assistance. For a full list of all Technical Advisory Committees, visit the Cabinet for Health and Family Services website or follow the link here.

“It is extremely difficult to move from incarceration to become a contributing citizen, which inevitably leads to a return to jail or prison. We have more than 24,000 people in our jails and prisons. At last count, more than 40 percent of those released end up incarcerated again. This not only harms the individual, but takes vital resources away from our state’s many needs,” Moser added. “The time has come for our state to approach this issue with a strategy that takes into consideration what happens when people convicted of a crime serve their time and are released.”

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