State Rep. John Tilley, who has addressed numerous groups on the success Kentucky has seen since reforming its criminal justice system in 2011, will appear before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary at 10 a.m. tomorrow to discuss how the federal corrections system can follow suit.
“Kentucky took a major step forward two years ago in reversing what in 2007 was the nation’s fastest-growing prison system,” said Rep. Tilley, who chairs the Kentucky House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee. “Since then, we have seen our prison numbers decline, we have seen our public-safety rates increase, we have significantly expanded access to drug-treatment programs and we have saved millions of local and state tax dollars along the way. This has not been a top-down approach, either; instead, we have worked closely with every group – from judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys to victims advocates and local government officials. My testimony will emphasize the critical importance of this type of collaboration. I see no reason why the federal system cannot experience similar success.”
Tomorrow’s meeting follows in the wake of the U.S. Attorney General’s office announcing in mid-August that the Justice Department would alter its policy in prosecuting low-level, non-violent drug offenders who had no ties to organized crime, so that federal mandatory minimum sentences would no longer be imposed. Rep. Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, noted that he spoke with the U.S. Attorney General’s office earlier this spring, highlighting Kentucky’s approach in this area as a model.
Rep. Tilley will be the only state legislator addressing the U.S. Senate committee. Those also scheduled to appear include:
· Charles E. Samuels, Jr., the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons;
· Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John E. Wetzel;
· Nancy G. La Vigne, Ph.D., the director of The Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center;
· Matt DeLisi, Ph.D., a professor at Iowa State University who is coordinator for that school’s Criminal Justice Studies program; and
· Dr. Jeffrey Sedgwick, the managing partner and co-founder of Keswick Advisors in Richmond, Virginia.
The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s meeting, entitled “Oversight of the Bureau of Prisons and Cost-Effective Strategies for Reducing Recidivism,” is scheduled to be broadcast over the committee’s website. The link to the committee’s page and the 10 a.m. (EST) webcast can be found at: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=5fa8a4fcfd512d43b3816f1ee70590ab&1