Having a family member or friend in the Kentucky State Penitentiary system can be an emotional and difficult experience. Most people are not familiar with the penitentiary system when their loved one enters the system. Understanding how to use the KOOL system can be very helpful for family and friends.

What is the KOOL System in Kentucky?

KOOL is the acronym for Kentucky Online Offender Lookup. If your family member or loved one is in the Kentucky State Penitentiary system, you can use KOOL to search for them.

Begin by visiting the main KOOL website. A disclaimer on the website informs you that data for offenders that is newer than 120 days might not have been finalized. 

The disclaimer also informs you that the Department does not guarantee the accuracy of all information in the system. However, updates and entries are performed daily to help improve accuracy. 

To begin, click on the link to enter the KOOL system. You are directed to another web page where you enter information about the person you want to locate. There are several fields of data that you can enter:

  • Last name
  • First name
  • Middle name

Clicking the Advanced Options button gives you numerous fields for entering additional information. The system advises that entering as little information as needed to get a match works best. You can choose to sort the results by name (default choice), offender PID, or location. 

The fields for search offenders with photos only and search aliases are checked. If you do not think your loved one might have a photo in the system yet, you might want to uncheck that box. You can always clear the data and run another search if your first search does not locate your family member or friend. 

If your loved one is in the system, you receive information about them, including their current location, the criminal charges that resulted in incarceration, their prison identification number, and the Department of Corrections identification number. This information is helpful if you want to visit your loved one or send your loved one mail.

Clicking on your family member’s name provides additional information. Information on the offender’s page includes:

  • The offender’s photograph 
  • The expected time to serve
  • Good time release date
  • Parole eligibility date
  • Maximum expiration of sentence date
  • General personal description
  • Information for each offense
  • Information about parole, if available

It can be frustrating when you are unfamiliar with the system if you cannot locate information about your loved one. However, if you continue working with the system, you will become more comfortable with it soon.

Being Paroled Early from the Kentucky State Penitentiary 

The information in the KOOL system includes the date the inmate should be eligible for parole. State statutes and regulations govern parole eligibility. Offenders who committed violent crimes must serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before they can be paroled. 

Individuals convicted of a sex crime must complete a sex offender treatment problem before they can be released on parole. Repeat felony offenders must serve at least ten years of their sentences before they are eligible for parole. 

Just because an inmate is eligible for parole does not mean that the inmate will be paroled. The Kentucky Board of Parole handles paroles. There are many factors that the Board considers when deciding if an inmate can be paroled. 

The Board of Parole considers factors such as the type of offense the person committed, job history, criminal history, substance abuse, education, job skill, incarceration record, and much more. If the Board does not grant parole, the person might come up for parole again.

When the Board does grant parole, it might include conditions and restrictions. The person might be required to pay restitution to a victim and meet with a probation officer regularly.

Avoiding Going to Prison in Kentucky

If you are charged with a crime in Kentucky, your best chance of avoiding prison is working with a criminal defense lawyer. Prosecutors and judges are not lenient. Many defendants face maximum sentences for convictions.

If you are arrested or under investigation for a crime, contact a criminal lawyer immediately. You have the right to remain silent. You should exercise that right.

Do not talk to the police or give a statement without your attorney present. Regardless of what the police might tell you, they cannot help you if you talk to them. Remember, police officers can lie to you.

You must provide your name and address, but you are not required to answer any other questions. Ask for an attorney and then stop talking. Your lawyer will work to have you released from jail, pending your trial, if possible.

Help Your Attorney by Staying Out of Trouble

Some things to remember once you are released from jail:

  • Do not contact the victim or anyone related to the victim
  • Follow all conditions of your release
  • Work with your lawyer to gather evidence for a defense
  • Do not associate with known criminals
  • Never put yourself in a situation in which you could be accused of another crime
  • Follow all instructions given to you by your lawyer

There could be several defenses available to you. However, if you get into more trouble after you are released from jail, it will be more challenging to obtain a favorable plea bargain. It could make it more difficult to mount a defense in court.

Most criminal cases are settled through a plea bargain. An experienced criminal defense lawyer understands the potential outcomes in your case, given the facts. He will give you those options and his opinion about what is best in your situation based on his experience and knowledge.

Regardless of your attorney’s opinion, the decision to accept a plea deal is up to you. However, your attorney has been dealing with the criminal justice system for many years and has more experience and knowledge of the legal system. 

His goal is to keep you out of the Kentucky State Penitentiary system, if possible. Your lawyer will do whatever he can to help you avoid a prison sentence, including negotiating a plea deal when a trial could result in a much longer prison sentence.

The Bottom Line About Facing Criminal Charges in Kentucky

Do not face the charges alone. Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect your legal rights and best interests. By doing so, you might avoid a prison sentence, and your family will not need to learn how to use the KOOL system to check on you.