During the first televised debate of this year’s race for governor, Gov. Matt Bevin claimed that the state hasn’t expanded its prison population under his watch.
“We have expanded our prison population not one lick, I’ve made clear I’m not building more prisons,” Bevin said last week. “And the rapid increase that you ask about…happened under the previous governor and the governors before that. It has leveled off in recent years.”
Bevin is right that the majority of Kentucky’s prison population boom took place under previous governors. Historical data shows that back in 1978 under Democratic Gov. Julian Carroll, Kentucky’s prison population was 3,390. By 2007 at the end of Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s administration, that number had ballooned to 22,457.