FRANKFORT – Nathan Teague made a mistake because of his substance abuse. Although he successfully completed treatment and is doing well in recovery, the non-violent, Class D felony, continues to haunt him.
“Restaurant work is really the only job you can get with a felony,” Teague commented during a press conference at the Capitol Rotunda to announce the creation of a Criminal Justice Public Safety Council. “It’s just very frustrating having opportunities come up … then a background check just knocks you down.”
Teague completed treatment at Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge Recovery Center in Clay County.
“America has always been a land of second chances. I’m a big believer that there should be pertinence paid for laws broken, but there are better and smarter ways to handle this,” said Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin. “We, as the commonwealth, owe them the opportunity to pay their debt to society and then be given the chance to re-assimilate.”
Bevin named 23 members to the new council, which will study Kentucky’s criminal system, incarceration rates and policies for effectiveness and fairness and then make recommendations for reforms by the 2017 General Assembly.
The council will be chaired by Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley, who played a leading role in enacting similar reforms to the state’s drug sentencing laws as chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Another member of the council is retired Circuit Judge and former State Senator Tom Jensen of London, who worked with Tilley in crafting that measure as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Other members of the council are: Senator Whitney Westerfield, Representative Darryl Owens, Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey, Senator John Schickel, Senator Morgan McGarvey, Repepresentative Denny Butler, Representative Chris Harris, Dr. Allen Brenzel of the Department of Behavioral Health, Circuit Court Judge David Tapp of Somerset, LaRue County Judge-Executive Tommy Turner, Warren County Attorney Amy Milliken, Commonwealth Attorney Courtney Parker, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders, Deputy Public Advocate Damon Preston, Anthony Smith of Cities United, Grayson County Jailer Jason Woosley, retired pastor Bob Russell, Bishop William Medley, Dave Adkisson of Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and Supreme Court Justice Daniel Venters of Somerset.