Kentucky Association of Counties

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Kentucky Association of Counties


County Champion


Top Issue: County Jails


Legislative Priority

KACo supports requiring the state to reimburse counties for any credit given to an inmate for time already served in a county jail pre-adjudication that the inmate receives at sentencing.


Jail costs are the number one issue facing most county budgets. Counties spend more than $100 million from their general fund each year on jails (excluding Fayette and Jefferson County). State statute requires that counties provide for the incarceration of inmates arrested in the county. Many inmates do not have the means to pay cash bail and remain in jail, sometimes for years, while awaiting trial.

The cost of housing state inmates in county jails pre-sentencing is currently not reimbursable for counties, even after inmates receive sentencing credit for that time served in custody on state or federal charges. These jail expenses are unfairly shifted onto the backs of counties.


Data Snapshot

After rising steadily for decades, county jail populations fell during COVID, bur are now surging back to pre-pandemic levels.