Hundreds of Non-violent Louisville Inmates Up for Possible Release

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  — In attempts to reduce crowding in Louisville’s jail and increase the chance the coronavirus does not get in and spread, 132 low-risk inmates are likely to be set free.

Spectrum News 1 spoke with prosecutor Jeff Cooke from the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office on Thursday, who said he worked with corrections and defense attorneys and has delivered the recommendations to judges to be considered for release. 

“Having too many defendants in Metro Corrections – if there was an outbreak there – it’s gonna use public resources that might better serve other people,” Cooke said in a phone interview. “So, we’re trying to prevent that outbreak there in Metro Corrections and I think the public will be better served by that.”

Lexington Corrections has released 48 of its inmates. And, like Lexington, Louisville inmates targeted for release are nonviolent offenders, some are over 60 years old, and others are facing little time left on their sentence. Some inmates already nearing their release date will get credit for time served and be free. Others, still awaiting a court date, will be free, provided they show up for their eventual hearings.

We asked Cooke, especially with overcrowding issues Metro Corrections has faced, if these inmates should have been considered for release anyway. The prosecutor said his office has worked hard over the last year to make sure those put behind bars earned their way there.

“Usually it’s repeat offenders, violating court orders, failing to appear in court; and, so, they hold them to make sure they’re there for the next time,” Cooke continued. “They’ve done something above the usual – and, of course, violent offenders are going to be kept.”

Cooke said they’ve likely exhausted all of the current inmates they’re willing to recommend for release.

Spectrum News 1 reached Louisville Metro Corrections and the city’s office for public defenders for comment but has not heard back.