Attorney General Says Prison System Needs Overhaul

CATLETTSBURG, Ky. (WSAZ & AP) -- The Boyd County Detention Center has roughly 240 inmates, and even the jailer says some of the people in there shouldn't be locked up.

"Family's more important than being in this jail. Somehow they've lost track," Joe Burchett said. "They need to realize they need to be home with their families instead of being in this jail."

Many inmates in the detention center are there for non-violent drug offenses, with many hoping for a legal system that shows them some leniency.

On the national level, prison overcrowding is also a huge and expensive problem.

To help reduce that population, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is directing 94 U.S. attorneys to stop charging low-level, non-violent offenders with mandatory sentences. U.S. jails have seen a prison population increase of 800 percent since 1980.

"A vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities," Holder said. "And many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate these problems rather than alleviate them."

On the county level, Jailer Joe Burchett agrees.

"Landing a job is already tough today. They're just not here," Burchett said. "Add a prison sentence to someone's record, and it's just hard. A lot of people just gives up. Some of them I've talked to say they're better off in jail; it's easier on them. For the community's perspective, it's just an expensive vicious cycle."

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