FRANKFORT, KY —On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, the Kentucky Smart on Crime Coalition released the following statement after the House Education Committee advanced HB 25, sponsored Rep. Killian Timoney (Lexington), legislation aimed at removing barriers to educational attainment for Kentuckians who have a felony conviction.
HB 25 eliminates a state requirement that prevents these individuals from eligibility for the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), which provides opportunities to students who meet certain metrics related to high school GPA, SAT, ACT, and/or Advanced Placement classes.
“This is an important step for the Commonwealth if we are serious about reducing our abysmal 40 percent recidivism rate,” said Kate Shanks, VP of Public Affairs at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the Kentucky Smart on Crime coalition.
“To better position individuals for success after they leave the criminal justice system, we have to be opening up more opportunities, and studies clearly demonstrate education and job skills reduce the likelihood of reoffending. The business community views Rep. Timoney’s bill as a no-brainer because there is also a great urgency to improve the percentage of Kentuckians with degrees from two-year and four-year institutions, an area where we currently lag the rest of the nation. It’s a win-win,” Shanks continued.
About Kentucky Smart on Crime:
Kentucky Smart on Crime is a broad-based coalition working for common sense justice reforms that proactively address individual and systemic racial disparities and inequities, improve public health, enhance public safety, strengthen communities and promote cost-effective sentencing alternatives. Partner organizations include American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, Kentucky Council of Churches, Catholic Conference of Kentucky, Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc., Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Kentucky Youth Advocates, Volunteers of America Mid-States, Inc., NAACP Kentucky, Kentucky Criminal Justice Forum, and United Way of Kentucky. For more information, visit: kysmartoncrime.com or @kysmartoncrime on Twitter.