A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bevin announces $37.9 million in federal grant funding for 135 Kentucky victim advocacy programs

Gov. Matt Bevin joined with the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and victim advocates from across the state to announce a record $37.9 million in federal grants to support crisis intervention services for victims of crime. In total, 135 Kentucky programs have received funding this year through the federal Victims of Crime Act grant program, known as VOCA. The awards mark a 50 percent increase...

Commentary: Drug Take-Back, prescription safety is key in continued fight against the opioid epidemic

By Adam Meier and John Tilley State of Kentucky Prescription opioids, such as Lortab, Percocet, and OxyContin, are medications that may be prescribed for the treatment of acute pain. Historically, these medications have often been overprescribed and used inappropriately in an effort to manage chronic pain. As a result, prescription opioids continue to line the shelves of our medicine cabinets in abundance. Over...

Bevin announces new state-run prison in Eastern Kentucky to address overcrowding in county jails

Gov. Matt Bevin joined the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Personnel Cabinet on Friday to announce plans to operate a new state-run prison in Floyd County to address overcrowding in county jails. Southeast State Correctional Complex will be housed in an existing privately-owned, 650-bed facility in Wheelwright, providing much-needed space for medium-security inmates. The prison will...

Kentucky launches partnership with nation’s largest evidence-based reentry employment provider

The Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) has announced the opening of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) — a program that provides immediate, comprehensive employment services to people returning home from prison. CEO began offering reentry services in the Louisville metro area on Aug. 12. The program focuses outreach on those with the highest likelihood of returning to prison and...

Bevin, KSP announce statewide victims assistance program; trained advocates to provide support

Gov. Matt Bevin on Thursday joined with Kentucky State Police, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, and the federal Office of Justice Programs, within the Department of Justice, to announce a new initiative that will provide trained advocates at every KSP post to support and assist victims of crime. KSP is among the first state police agencies to implement this program on a statewide basis. The program,...

Demonstration planned in Louisville on Friday for FED UP! International Overdose Awareness Day

Advocates in concert with International Overdose Awareness Day will demonstrate for a more robust federal response to the opioid addiction epidemic on Aug. 30 in Louisville. The rally will take place at Jefferson Square Park (corner of 6th and Jefferson) starting at 11 a.m. and is organized by Emily Walden, Chair of FED UP!. It will be one of dozens that are scheduled to occur simultaneously in cities...

Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Secretary John Tilley touts treatment over incarceration

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News State Justice and Public Safety Secretary John Tilley told foreign scholars visiting Kentucky Friday that treatment, instead of incarceration, is what is needed to help people who suffer from addiction — a stand that is still a hard sell for some in Kentucky. “The best place to treat addiction is not a prison cell,” Tilley said. “And I...

State’s Overdose Fatality Report has no good news; fentanyl is deadliest drug, methamphetamine surges

Illicit fentanyl, a powerful and unpredictable opioid, has inflicted another harrowing year on the Commonwealth, claiming more lives than ever before even though deaths from heroin alone have declined. According to a report released today by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, fatal overdoses totaled 1,565 in 2017, an 11.5 percent increase over the previous year. Among those cases, toxicology...

Kentucky Department of Corrections names Randy White as deputy commissioner of Adult Institutions

The Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) has announced Randy White as deputy commissioner of Adult Institutions. In his new role, White will be in charge of all aspects of operation and administration for Kentucky’s 12 state prisons. He will also oversee the department’s substance abuse treatment, health services, correctional industries, private prison, education, and programs divisions. Randy...

Five officers to be honored at Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony on May 24

Five Kentucky law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty will be honored at the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony on May 24 at the memorial monument site in Richmond. The name of Louisville Metro police officer Nicholas Rodman, who died in the line of duty March 29, 2017, will be added to the memorial. Additionally, Louisville police officer James Harrison, Clarkson...

As opioid crisis spreads, new program will enhance autopsy services and training of forensic doctors

Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville announced a new partnership today that will strengthen the state Medical Examiner’s Office, a vital step amid the deadly opioid epidemic and a national shortage of forensic doctors. Under the agreement, the Justice Cabinet will contract with the universities for forensic pathology services, combining...

Former drug addicts bring messages of hope at Capitol rally for National Recovery Month

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A large crowd gathered in the state Capitol rotunda on Thursday afternoon to hear a message of hope from former drug addicts as part of National Recovery Month. Billed as the “Recovery Rally in the Rotunda,” it highlighted those who have battled with addiction, as well messages from state officials. Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Vickie Yates Brown...

Almost $2 million in Violence Against Women Act grant funds available for organizations in Kentucky

Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley has announced more than $1.9 million in funding is available through the STOP Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Grant Program. VAWA STOP funds may be used to develop and strengthen effective law enforcement, prosecution, judicial strategies and victim services throughout Kentucky in cases involving violent crimes against women. That includes domestic violence,...

Justice Secretary Tilley honors troopers and officers during Kentucky State Police Awards Ceremony

Justice Secretary John Tilley joined Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders in recognizing 79 KSP troopers and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers for bravery, life-saving acts, and dedication to duty, at a ceremony held Friday. “The past few years have been challenging times for law enforcement,” said Sanders. “With attacks on police across the country, it can negatively impact...

Bevin announces new public awareness campaign, website aimed at fight against opioid addiction

Gov. Matt Bevin is urging all Kentuckians to help beat back the opioid epidemic with a new public awareness campaign that highlights the dangers of opioid abuse and offers information on drug treatment and naloxone. The campaign, launching this week, combines web content with statewide advertising to drive home a simple message: “Don’t Let Them Die.” The theme encourages Kentuckians to recognize...

National opioid epidemic fueling unprecedented levels of overdose deaths, state report shows

The nationwide opioid epidemic continued taking its lethal toll on the Commonwealth last year, driving up overdose deaths to unprecedented levels with an ever-stronger mix of fentanyl, heroin and prescription pills. According to a report released Tuesday by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, fatal overdoses totaled 1,404 in 2016, a 7.4 percent increase from the previous year. Of those cases,...

Hampton, Tilley to speak at ceremony honoring Kentucky’s fallen law enforcement officers

Three Kentucky law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty will be honored at the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony on May 23 at the memorial monument site in Richmond, Ky. Versailles Police Officer George Freeman, Oldham County Police Officer Charles D. Howley and Bell County Sheriff’s Deputy Frank Bowman will be honored among their family, friends and comrades. Kentucky...

Programs that provide services to victims of violent crimes can now apply for federal grants

Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley announced that applications are now available for obtaining grants under the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). Programs that offer direct services to victims of violent crime may apply for the funds. The application deadline has been extended to June 2, 2017, and awards are scheduled to be announced in September. The VOCA program provides a range of services...

KyCIR: Detention common occurrence for Kentucky youth, even when they haven’t committed a crime

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting Margie Beitz’s son had been gone nearly two weeks when she decided to file a court petition labeling him a runaway. She and her husband were blindsided by his anger. The youngest of five children, Isaiah despised rules in a way the others never did. Doctors and inpatient treatments were temporary fixes until insurance money ran out, and the...

Department of Juvenile Justice youth workers getting double digit pay raise under Bevin proposal

Gov. Matt Bevin joined with Justice Secretary John Tilley and Commissioner Carey Cockerell to announce a double-digit pay raise for entry-level youth workers at the Department of Juvenile Justice. The move, which takes effect in April, will provide a 20 percent increase in entry-level salaries for Youth Worker I positions. In addition, every staff member currently employed in the positions of Youth...