Anti-crime bill would do more of what we already know doesn’t work

HB 5 includes 37 provisions that will increase costs to local and state governments, money that could instead be spent on crime-preventing investments in education, housing and community-based services, writes Kaylee Ramer. (Getty Images)

All Kentuckians deserve to feel safe in their communities, but sending even more people to jail and prison, and for longer, will not make us safer. And yet, that’s the approach taken in House Bill 5, an expansive collection of tried-and-failed policies that respond to a wide range of societal issues with one antiquated solution: more and more incarceration.

Rather than improving public safety, it would instead grow poverty and hardship, further increase the risk of overdose deaths, and massively swell spending on prisons and jails that could be better used for investments that actually work to prevent crime.

HB 5 passed out of the House Judiciary Committee Thursday, but that contentious meeting should cause lawmakers to pause. The vote came with bipartisan opposition from the committee and a chorus of opposing testimony from organizations representing people who are homeless and those dealing with recovery, experts on the criminal legal system, proponents of fiscal conservatism and leaders of communities most affected by the issues HB 5 claims to address.

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