Suit says inmates being held too long for parole violations

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — People are being left in jail longer than they're supposed to for technical parole violations during a coronavirus pandemic that's been deadly for confined populations, according to a lawsuit filed by public defenders.

Attorneys for the state Department of Public Advocacy asked a judge for an injunction against the Kentucky Parole Board and for class-action status for their lawsuit, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The suit currently represents 12 people jailed for alleged parole violations.

State law requires the Parole Board to hold a hearing within 30 days of a person being incarcerated for alleged parole violation to decide if there's enough evidence to revoke parole or whether release back into community supervision is justified, DPA attorney Tim Arnold said in the suit.

The Parole Board is letting parole violation defendants remain in jail well past that 30-day deadline, putting their lives at risk during the pandemic, Arnold wrote.

The Parole Board responded that state law doesn't set the 30-day deadline for revocation hearings until an alleged violator is “returned to prison for violation of his release.”

The plaintiffs in this suit are in jails, not in prisons, so the clock isn’t yet ticking, wrote Angela Dunham, attorney for the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

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