Good news from the Senate

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It looks like we may be getting some movement in the near future on expungement, and I am told that the final bill has not been as weakened as we all may have worried. While this article  predicted that we would hear something last week, I suspect that next week may be more likely. If you have ANY time, please contact Senate President Stivers, who will likely be authoring the new law. His contact information is here. I know that as a resident of Manchester, Senator Stivers has seen firsthand the damage that felony-first prosecution has had on our communities. He has seen the pain that drug addiction has caused and the further pain that a felony conviction causes when it disqualifies good people from good jobs.

Please, if you have any interest in this passing, reach out to him this weekend. Class D expungement in Kentucky is about more than getting back to work. It is about restoring gun rights, restoring voting rights, and restoring jury duty. For decades we have case people who have made a minor mistake aside. Now we have the opportunity to fix that. I hope our Senate gets it right the first time, because there may not be a second one.

 

African American Kentuckians are four times as likely to be convicted of felonies as non-African Americans

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There is no clever or funny or any other way around the sad, sober-reality:

  1. There are 243,842 disenfranchised felons in Kentucky. 180,984 have already served their sentences out.
  2. There are 56,920 disenfranchised felon African Americans in Kentucky. 42,552 of them have served their sentence out.
  3. 3,315,996 is total estimated KY Population in the 2010 census.
  4. 254,797 is total estimated 2010 African American KY population.
  5. 7% of Kentuckians are ex-felons, are currently serving time, or are on probation or parole
  6. 22% of African-American Kentuckians are ex-felons, are currently serving time, or are on probation or parole.
  7. If we subtract the number of African Americans who are convicted felons from the total number of convicted felons, and divide by the total population of non-African American Kentuckians, we find that 5.7% of non-African Americans have been convicted of felonies in Kentucky.
  8. Therefore, if we consider only race, an African American Kentuckian (22%) is four times as likely to be convicted of a felony as a non-African American Kentuckian (5.7%).

All of these numbers are based on a study by the Sentencing Project.  While we can debate the cause of these disparities, a 400% increase in likelihood of felony conviction is very difficult to innocently explain away. The fact that African Americans are overwhelmingly, disproportionately the target of felony convictions in Kentucky is just another reason to pass Class-D expungement.