LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Should accused violent criminals be released on home incarceration? That question was the topic of discussion at this month’s Louisville Forum.
The speakers included a local judge, who described how the decision is made when defendant is released to wait for trial from home.
Jefferson County District Judge A.C. McKay Chauvin said, "We are independent, neutral, non-political people who look at these things dispassionately. It doesn't mean you don't care. It means you don't do what you do because you care. You do what you do because it’s what the law says you should do."
Chauvin said he and others are making decisions based on the law.
When they do decide to release a person on home incarceration the man in charge of Metro Corrections, who monitors the HIP program, said his priority is the public.
"Public safety is job one, right? I mean that's job one,” LMDC Director Mark Bolton said.
Each speaker at the forum had a different take on why and how home incarceration is used, but Bolton candidly admits, money plays a part.
Bolton said, "When we have so many individuals in custody, in a very crowded situation, it does help the jail when we have programs like HIP that afford the opportunity via court order to put a person back in the community."
He said most of the people on home incarceration are not charged with violent crimes.
A WHAS11 report revealed earlier this year 28 of the 735 people on home incarceration are charged with murder, 25 others are charged with robbery, five are facing rape charges and two people are accused of kidnapping.
Some members of the public say those numbers are concerning, but the director of the Department of Advocacy urges people to focus on something else- how home incarceration can be a tool.
Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy Director B. Scott West said, "We view home incarceration not as an alternative to incarceration but an alternative that the judges have to use opposed to releasing them out right and when you look at home incarceration in that light it becomes a very different thing."
Speakers at the forum agree the home incarceration program isn't going away and will likely continue to see accused violent criminals on the release list.
Now the hope is the community will work toward a better understanding of why and how it’s used.