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Our readers are smarter than our legislators

It seems our readers can see through the grandstanding and posturing, and know what the REAL results of HB 5 will be.

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The so-called “Safer Kentucky Act” — better known as the “Lock Up Everyone” act — is now law. HB 5 was passed, vetoed by the governor, and the veto overridden. Now today, on the last day of the session, the sponsors of this misbegotten bill are having a signing ceremony, celebrating putting more people (including the homeless) in jails and prisons.

A few weeks ago, we asked our readers to weigh in on this bill. Below are the responses, along with some of the comments we received. It seems that our readers understand the problems better than the legislators who voted for the bill. We shall see who gets it right in the end – but on this topic, our readers are smarter than our legislators.

Forms response chart. Question title: What will happen to our violent crime rate if HB 5 becomes law in Kentucky?. Number of responses: 21 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: What will happen to our costs for jails, prisons, and staff for both?. Number of responses: 21 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: What effect will the “unlawful” camping punishments have on our homeless population? Choose all that you think likely.. Number of responses: 21 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: In the end, will the Safer Kentucky Act actually make us safer?. Number of responses: 21 responses.

Selected comments

This bill will increase the number of people incarerated and will require more jails and prisons. I know who will pay for these new jails and prisons - it will by KY taxpayers. But who will run these new jails and prisons - it will be the private for-profit prison companies who will make a lot of money on the backs of the poor and homeless. Shameful.
This is pure “tough on crime” posturing. As far as I’ve seen, none of the sponsors’ claims are supported by solid data.
The name is misleading and, as per usual, Gov. Beshear’s veto will be used for political fodder. This will not make us ‘safer,’ is only politically reactionary, and does not address the root causes of any issues the bill attempts to react to. Just standard grandstanding from our legislature for political, monetary, and personal gain that I embarrassingly expect.
The “Safer” KY act will not make Kentucky safer. It will lead to locking up — in already overcrowded and stressed jails — those down on their luck or suffering from addiction and/or mental illness. It will lead the homeless to hiding, more furtive behavior, likely stealing to get necessities because they are afraid to access help for fear of being imprisoned. It absolutely criminalizes homelessness despite what the self righteous legislators are telling themselves. Their lack of humanity and human kindness is astounding.

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Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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