Cameron shares updates on COVID early jail releases

Published 2:05 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Attorney General Daniel Cameron held a press conference Friday morning to share updated statistics on prisoners Gov. Andy Beshear released from jail early during the pandemic.

Cameron has used Beshear’s move to release 1,700 state inmates to reduce the spread of COVID as a main line of attack throughout his campaign for governor.

Beshear was one of nearly half of all U.S. governors to take a similar step. He has since said that at the time, he believed it to be a ”rational” decision.

To be released early, inmates had to have less than six months left in their sentences and had to be convicted of non-violent, non-sexual crimes.

After the commutations, the Courier-Journal reported that 32% of those who were granted early release had committed a felony since.

Friday, Cameron announced a further update.

According to a report from the Administrative Office of the Courts, requested by Rep. Kevin Bratcher, that figure has increased with 51% of inmates commuted in March 2020 and 54% of those commuted in August 2020 having since been convicted with felonies.

An additional 14 and 15%, respectively, have committed misdemeanors, according to the AOC data.

Rep. Jason Nemes joined Cameron and Bratcher at the presser.

“We told the governor before he did this, ‘Do not do this. This will put our people in jeopardy,’ “ Nemes said. “We told them do not do this, this will make more victims.“

With less than a month until the election, Cameron used the opportunity to tout his public safety plan.

Cameron also said that if he were in Beshear’s position during the COVID pandemic, he would not have made the same decision.

“There are a lot of victims that the governor needs to apologize to,” he said.