More than 600 inmates to have sentences commuted

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state is commuting the sentences of more than 600 additional inmates to lower the coronavirus risk for them and prison populations.

During Gov. Andy Beshear’s daily coronavirus briefing Tuesday, J. Michael Brown, secretary of the Governor’s executive cabinet, announced the commutation of sentences for 646 medically vulnerable inmates and inmates who are nearing the end of their sentence.

Brown said all of those receiving a commutation had been screened to ensure they had not been convicted of violent crimes or sex offenses.

Three previous rounds of commutations covered 1,235 inmates, under the same criteria announced Tuesday. As of July 6, 2020, the total number of inmates released was 1,171.

“I believe the last round of commutations was fairly successful at getting people back in society and making sure they are healthy, and we are looking for the same here,” Beshear said. “I wish each of those individuals a better life moving forward, one that is constructive, one that they can find purpose in, whether that be faith, family or a good job. Let’s help make sure we can work with these individuals and give second chances.”

Brown said the latest commutations followed the same guidelines as the last.

“Today’s signed executive order has 646 individuals receiving commutation from the Governor,” Brown said.

He noted that 121 of the commutations are for inmates who are medically vulnerable, according to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and with less than five years left to serve of their sentences. Another 525 are inmates have less than six months left to serve.

“The Governor’s actions today are taken to ensure that all Kentuckians, including those behind bars and the hardworking staff of corrections officers and deputy jailers, are given a chance to be healthy and safe in this fight against COVID-19,” Secretary Brown said.

“On Aug. 26, 2019, the Department of Corrections had 24,200 inmates. Today, we have 19,689,” said Brown. “That’s a reduction of 4,511 in our prison system. That’s good for everyone in the commonwealth.”

The commutations are conditional ad if the inmates re-offend, they ca be returned to prison.

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