Grayson County Jailer Jason Woosley was recently selected by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin to serve on the newly formed Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council, which held its first meeting in Frankfort last week.
Woosley joined Bevin and other members of the bipartisan council for the Governor’s announcement in the Capital Rotunda on Tuesday, June 21 that the council will make recommendations for overhauling the state’s criminal justice system to make it stronger, smarter, and fairer, according to a press release from the Grayson County Detention Center.
“From the very beginning, America has been a land of second chances,” Bevin said in his address. “Even so, many in our criminal justice system are not given a path forward to become productive members of society after they have served their time. I believe in the importance of supporting basic human dignity. When we hold individuals fully accountable for their actions while treating them with respect in the process, all of society benefits.”
Bevin became acquainted with Woosley during the Governor’s unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Mitch McConnell, the release states.
While running for Governor last year, Bevin made the Grayson County Detention Center a regular stop on his trips to the western end of the Commonwealth. He was impressed by how the detention center operates, especially the focus on education, positive programming, and religious opportunities, according to the release.
“I was honored at the invitation and graciously accepted,” said Woosley. “I hope to help make changes for the good, and I am excited to be doing work at the state level.”
Woosley is the only local law enforcement or corrections official on the council and will serve alongside Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. Venters, Secretary for Justice John Tilley, former U.S. Marshal and current State Senator John Schickel, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders, Bishop William Medley of the Diocese of Owensboro, and Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Adkisson, as well as members of the Kentucky General Assembly and other organizations.
The council has been tasked with examining every aspect of Kentucky’s criminal justice system and making recommendations on everything from revising and updating the Penal Code to restructuring the probation and parole system and building better programs to help inmates succeed when they are released back into society, according to the release.
The council will also study changes made in other states to determine whether they could be successfully applied in Kentucky.
Over the next six months, the council will formulate a plan that Bevin will introduce to the Kentucky General Assembly during its 2017 legislative session.
“I feel that having correctional experience at the county level allows me to bring insight that others on the committee may not have,” Woosley said.
The release states that as jail and prison populations are nearing an all-time high, Kentucky now spends nearly half a billion dollars on corrections per year and has the highest number of children with an incarcerated parent in the nation.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.