Ky. lawmakers to join #VisitAPrison challenge

FRANKFORT — Members of the Kentucky General Assembly will seek firsthand accounts of prison experiences from inmates, visitors and guards when they go inside the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women this week.

The visit by members of the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus is part of the #VisitAPrison Challenge, a growing push for policymakers across the nation to personally learn more about the criminal justice system by going inside prisons.

The #VisitAPrison Challenge is an initiative of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM.) FAMM states that its mission “is to create a more fair and effective justice system that respects our American values of individual accountability and dignity while keeping our communities safe.”

Kentucky lawmakers will pay their visit to the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women in Pewee Valley on Nov. 1.

“We want to hear as many first-hand accounts as possible about criminal justice in Kentucky,” said Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, who is coordinating the visit. “We want to hear stories from people whose lives have been impacted by mistakes they’ve made and the punishments they’ve received. It will be eye-opening to learn for ourselves what prison food is like, what kind of health care services are provided, and what kind of programs are available to help turn lives around. It’s also important that we have a chance to talk with staff about their working conditions and concerns.”

State lawmakers expected to participate in the prison visit include: Chair of the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus Rep. Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville; Rep. Charles Booker, D-Louisville; Rep. Nima Kulkarni, D-Louisville; and Rep. Scott.

Lawmakers who visit correctional facilities as part of the #VisitAPrison Challenge typically share their experiences by posting photos or information on Twitter and other social media sites. Tweets about prison visits can be viewed on Twitter using the #VisitAPrison hashtag.