The Commonwealth of Kentucky incarcerates too many people for too long and for the wrong reasons.

Imprisonment is a brutal and costly response to crime that traumatizes incarcerated people and hurts families and communities. It should be the last option, not the first. Yet the U.S. incarcerates more people, in both absolute numbers and per capita, than any other nation in the world. For the last four decades, this country has relentlessly expanded the size of our criminal justice system, needlessly throwing away too many lives and wasting trillions of taxpayer dollars. 

The ACLU of Kentucky is a founding member of the Kentucky Smart on Crime Coalition.  Kentucky Smart on Crime is a broad based coalition working for common sense justice reforms that enhance public safety, strengthen communities and promote cost effective sentencing alternatives.

We are working for reforms to usher in a new era of justice in Kentucky – and we’re already implementing solutions:

  • Sentencing Reform: We are working to reduce both the number of people entering jails and prisons and the extreme laws and policies that drive extraordinarily long prison terms.

  • Bail Reform: We’re advocating for the overhaul of Kentucky's bail system that strips people of their rights, targets poor people and people of color, and hurts families and communities.

  • Parole Reform: We are working to ensure systems are fair, respect people’s rights, and promote safety and success for those returning to their communities.

  • Reentry: We are working to end the collateral consequences that are imposed on people living with a criminal record.