Jail Policy Committee

Metro Jail Population Management
While developing effective responses to issues related to jail crowding typically rates as one of the top concerns of city and county governments across the country, jail crowding is not a new phenomenon.  Efforts to respond to jail over-population can be traced back to the 1980’s and have resulted in a body of knowledge that now spans three decades. The jail population is ultimately determined by two variables, number of bookings (jail admissions) and average length of stay (average period of incarceration).

Since both variables can be heavily influenced by the police, courts and the legislature, jail crowding is best understood as the result of policy decisions made across the entire criminal justice system; it is not created solely by the action of any one entity.  Jail crowding is therefore not a correctional problem, but rather a system problem and jail population management strategies must be tailored to the needs of the individual jurisdiction. Experience in responding to jail crowding has also demonstrated that jail crowding is not a problem to solve, but rather a condition to manage.  Since jail crowding represents the complex interplay of local and state policies and practices, there are unfortunately, no quick fixes or “silver bullets.”  Effective population management strategies are based upon ongoing data analysis, systemic approaches and coordinated policy development.

While maintaining public safety is the ultimate goal, strategies used to alleviate crowding can take several forms including diversion opportunities or providing alternatives to incarceration (non-jail options) such as electronic monitoring or Day Reporting Centers; implementing measures to improve system efficiency, such as expedited case processing; and increasing the number of jail beds.   It should also be noted that in the absence of agreed upon policy regarding how finite jail resources will be used, jails tend to be capacity-driven such that empty space will always be filled. For more information please review local jail population management efforts.

It is important to note that COVID-19 had significant impact on Metro Corrections jail bookings, the overall jail population, and length of stay. Data in the Impact of COVID19 on Crime, Arrest, and Jail Population Report show a significant decline in jail bookings after COVID-19 restrictions were imposed in March 2020 which in turn lowered the jail population. 

Role of Jail Policy Committee
With public safety as the number one goal, the current Jail Policy Committee provides a neutral forum for system stakeholders to meet on a regular basis to discuss issues related to the jail population.  The committee is charged with using data to monitor the jail population; analyze trends and identify points of intervention; recommend changes in policy and practice to promote effective jail population management; and oversee the implementation of those recommendations.

Jail Population Management Dashboard
To help decision-makers and the public understand the factors driving incarceration trends, the Criminal Justice Commission's Jail Policy Committee in partnership with Metro Corrections and Metro Civic Innovation and Technology, developed an online dashboard to visualize data on individuals incarcerated. The dashboard will allow users to compute jail population statistics disaggregated by race, gender, age, jail status, court status, bail, and length of stay. The dashboard is available on the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections website at www.louisvilleky.gov/jaildashboard

Jail Policy Membership
The committee consists of representatives from key criminal justice disciplines and agencies at the local and state level as well as individuals with expertise in the field of corrections and community residents.  

  • Leo Smith – Co-Chair, Jefferson County Public Defender
  • Gerina Whethers – Co-Chair, Commonwealth Attorney's Office
  • Judge Ann Bailey Smith, Chief Judge, Jefferson Circuit Court
  • Judge Jessica Moore, Chief Judge, Jefferson District Court
  • Judge Christine Ward, Chief Judge, Jefferson Family Court
  • David Nicholson, Jefferson Circuit Court Clerk
  • Michael O’Connell, Jefferson County Attorney
  • David Musacchio, Citizen Member
  • Chief Jerry Collins, Metro Corrections Department
  • Deputy Chief Steven Healey, Louisville Metro Police
  • Angela Darcy, Administrative Office of the Courts, Pretrial Services
  • John Rees, Citizen Member
  • McKay Chauvin, Chief Court Administrator
  • Saulette Davis, AFSCME
  • Rodger Ledrick, FOP Lodge 77
  • Cookie Crews, Kentucky Department of Corrections
  • Felicia Nu'Man, Louisville Urban League
  • Haven Harrington, NAACP Louisville Branch
  • Rev. David Snardon, Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition
  • Kunga Njuguna, ACLU

Committee Meeting Schedule
The Jail Policy Committee meets every other month to review and monitor jail population data; analyze trends and identify points of intervention; and recommend changes in policy and practice to promote effective jail population management.

Time:           12:00 p.m.
Location:     Crown Room, 6th Floor
                    Jefferson Judicial Center
                    700 West Jefferson Street
                    Louisville, KY 40202

Meeting Summaries








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