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Kentucky Releases 1,000 Inmates: Josh Kegley of the Herald-Leader (KY) reports nearly 1,000 state prisoners were granted early release Tuesday in Kentucky as part of a state penal code overhaul that became law in June. House Bill 463 is intended to save $40 million a year in Department of Corrections costs, reinvesting a large chunk of those savings in community supervision and counseling programs. The prisoners released Tuesday will be monitored on parole or probation for the last six months of their sentences. Other changes made under HB 463 are that police may no longer arrest people charged with misdemeanor drug crimes, and instead issue a citation to appear in court. Other misdemeanors such as receiving stolen property, theft under $500, and first- and second-degree criminal trespass are also no longer subject to arrest. Another change made by HB 463 is "bail credit," a provision that knocks $100 off of a person's bond for every day they spend in jail.

911 Operator Tells Woman It's Okay to Shoot Intruder:
Kevin Dolak and Ryan Owens of Good Morning America report an Oklahoma woman shot and killed a man trying to break in to her home while she was on the phone with 911. 18-year-old Sarah McKinley was home alone with her 3-month-old son on New Year's Even when two men began trying to break into her home. She grabbed her pistol and shotgun, and asked the 911 dispatcher, "is it okay to shoot him if he comes in this door?" The dispatcher told her, "I can't tell you that you can do that but you do what you have to do to protect your baby." When one of the men kicked in her door and came after her with a knife, McKinley shot and killed him. Police are calling the shooting justified. "You're allowed to shoot an unauthorized person that is in your home. The law provides you the remedy, and sanctions the use of deadly force," said Detective Dan Huff of the Blanchard, OK police.

California Meets First Inmate Target: Don Thompson of the Associated Press reports prison officials said Tuesday California has met the first inmate population target set by the courts. The state was ordered to reduce the population in state prisons by about 10,000 inmates, to 133,000 inmates, by December 27, 2011. As of last week's court-imposed deadline, the population of the 33 adult prisons was 132,887. Jeffrey Callison, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said the state plans to file its formal legal declaration with the federal courts later this week.

Three Strikes in Massachusetts:
An editorial from The Boston Globe discusses the possible unintended consequences of a "three-strikes" law  being considered by state lawmakers in Massachusetts. The law would deny parole or any sentence reduction to felons convicted three times of any of almost 60 serious felonies, and would increase the amount of time habitual offenders would have to serve before being eligible for parole. In the version that has passed the state Senate, the bill also contains reforms intended to balance out the anticipated increase in the prison population by shrinking drug-free school zones and reducing mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession, with a retroactive effect. Still, the overall effect on the number of Massachusetts prisoners in unclear, and Prisoners' Legal Services estimates that if enacted, the bill would impose up to $125 million a year in extra corrections costs.

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The Kentucky article stated that backers of the new law were surprised when only only 15 to 20 offenders applied for deferred prosecution of their drug charges.

It has always been a progressive canard that drug offenders only need an opportunity for counseling to change their ways and would jump at any chance to have their career damaging criminal history expunged.

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