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Study Shows Lack of Standardized Approach to Helping Kentucky Inmates Re-enter Society


A study by a Campbellsville University professor finds Kentucky has a lack of standardized programs aimed at helping former inmates re-enter society.


The Kentucky Department of Corrections released more than 1,200 inmates in 2017. According to the report, two-thirds of those inmates will be rearrested within three years.

Dale Wilson is a professor at Campbellsville and author of the study. He said while there’s high participation in substance abuse programs, there’s a lack of programs that prepare inmates for getting a job once they’ve served their time.

“There’s no single standardized program that teaches you the skills like building a resume or sitting down for a job interview,” he said.


Wilson said the programs offered vary widely across prisons, jails and halfway houses.  He said while reducing Kentucky’s prison population should remain a priority, the state also needs to change how it prepares inmates for reentry into society to lessen the chances they reoffend.

He said there aren’t enough programs available that teach inmates what are known as “soft skills”--things such as how to build a resume’, or interview for a job. Wilson said the lack of help makes it harder for those released from jail or prison to lead a normal life.

“Something we have to think about, if we’re going to let them out we have to think about what we’re doing with them when they’re in,” he said.


Wilson said about 93 percent of people who are incarcerated in Kentucky will be released.

He said that makes it imperative that the state create a standardized program to help inmates prepare for life on the outside.

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