Thursday, January 16, 2003

Six inmates to be freed from Boone, Kenton jails



By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Six of the 328 inmates who will walk free Friday because of Kentucky's growing budget crisis currently are incarcerated in Northern Kentucky, including one man who led police on a high-speed car chase in a stolen vehicle.

Harley D. Iles, 20, will have served less than a year of a two-year sentence when he walks free from the Boone County jail. He was convicted in April on a string of felonies - including bail jumping and wanton endangerment - in connection with a car chase through Boone County.

Boone County Commonwealth's Attorney Linda Tally Smith's office prosecuted two of the six prisoners being released in Northern Kentucky - including Mr. Iles

"It's a hard concept to stomach," she said Wednesday upon hearing the news. "These are administrative decisions being made without regard to the people who did the work to get these folks behind bars."

Maj. Jack Banks of the Boone County Sheriff's Department said no one was hurt in the November 2001 car chase, but that his agency was concerned about the release.

"We are disappointed the governor would release someone with this kind of record," he said. "It is frustrating because this person endangered the public by his past course of action. Although serious injury didn't occur, the possibility did exist."

The other five prisoners incarcerated in Northern Kentucky who are scheduled to be released:

Jimmy Craft: Held in Boone County after being sentenced to three years on the felony charge of receiving stolen property. He would have finished his sentence March 10.

James Haas: Held in Boone County after being sentenced to one year in prison for possession of a controlled substance. He would have finished his sentence June 3.

Janis Stokes: Held in Kenton County after being sentenced to one year for possession of a controlled substance. She would have finished her sentence June 21.

Joshua Morris: Held in Kenton County after being sentenced to two years in prison for possession of a controlled substance. He would have finished his sentence May 14.

John Knight: Held in Kenton County after being sentenced to one year and one month for possession of a controlled substance. He would have finished his sentenced on July 6.

This is the second time Gov. Paul Patton has released prisoners as a way to balance the state's budget. He released 567 inmates in December, one of whom is already back in custody, accused of robbing banks.

The Department of Corrections doesn't have enough beds for the estimated 16,200 men and women incarcerated in state correctional facilities, so it pays county jails to hold convicts while they wait for a cell to open in a state prison.

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com




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