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Kentucky Smart on Crime adds three new member organizations; goal is justice system reforms

Kentucky Smart on Crime, a broad-based coalition that advocates for common-sense justice reforms that enhance public safety, strengthen communities, and promote cost-effective sentencing alternatives, has announced the addition of three new partner organizations, NAACP of Kentucky, Kentucky Criminal Justice Forum, and United Way of Kentucky.

The groups join 11 current partners: American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, Catholic Conference of Kentucky, Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Council of Churches, Kentucky Youth Advocates, Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc., Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Volunteers of America Mid-States, Inc.

“We are enthused to provide new, valuable perspectives to a coalition that has been instrumental over the last five years in the passage of important, state-based criminal justice reforms,” said Marcus Ray, President of NAACP Kentucky, the Commonwealth’s oldest organization working to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race. “The remaining months of 2020 and the 2021 session of the Kentucky General Assembly offer major opportunities to push for sea changes that end longstanding inequalities in our justice system and ensure accountability in our government agencies.”

In the last several years, the Kentucky Criminal Justice Forum has been opening dialogue and bridging divides through their robust conversations in communities across the Commonwealth that focus on entry/ diversion, sentencing reform, re-entry, and access to healthcare.

“We have been laying the foundation for meaningful transformations in policy in part, by connecting legislators with justice-involved individuals and criminal justice professionals to bring about a better understanding of the issues,” said Deacon Keith McKenzie, Executive Director of KCJF. “Our team is thrilled to be able to formalize our partnership with Kentucky Smart on Crime. It’s an impressive collaboration that has with demonstrable results.”

United Way of Kentucky fights for the education, financial stability, and health of every Kentuckian in every community. “Kentucky’s United Way network works to engage community members to co-create solutions that ensure every Kentuckian has the resources, support, opportunities, and networks they need to thrive,” said Nicole Krider, Director of Member Services for United Way of Kentucky. “We are grateful to be a part of the important advocacy work of Kentucky Smart on Crime and will strive to find lasting solutions that will strengthen Kentucky communities and families.”

To learn more about the coalition, visit kysmartoncrime.com or follow on social media @kysmartoncrime.

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