Kentucky State Reformatory


To protect the citizens of the Commonwealth and to provide a safe, secure and humane environment for staff and offenders in carrying out the mandates of the legislative and judicial processes; and, to provide opportunities for offenders to acquire skills which facilitate non-criminal behavior.

 About KSR

The Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR) is located in LaGrange, Kentucky, which is approximately thirty (30) miles northeast of Louisville in Oldham County. In the year 2018, a re-organization and downsizing was implemented which reduced the institution to a 1053-bed capacity. It is a medium security facility under the administration of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, Department of Corrections.

The Kentucky State Reformatory was the third prison built in the Commonwealth of Kentucky following the establishment of a penal system by Kentucky's Legislature in 1798. The Reformatory, whose history is closely linked with Kentucky's political history and correctional philosophy, has undergone many changes during its existence.

The concept of the Kentucky State Reformatory was made possible through the appropriation of funds by the 1936 General Assembly and matching federal funds form the Public Works Administration. A committee chosen by Governor A.B. "Happy" Chandler toured the country seeking ideas to bring back to Kentucky so that the new institution being planned would be the correctional showplace of America. The committee returned with a blueprint that was innovative as far as prison construction of the time was concerned. Architecturally, it appeared similar to schools and hospitals of that era. Instead of having individual cells for inmates, the plans called for open-wing dormitories. There was liberal space for each man and the design committee believed this would encourage the men to return to the community and lead crime-free lives. The prison hospital was said to be the best-equipped facility within a fifteen- (15) state area. Overall, the Chandler Administration believed that the construction of the new buildings coupled with the adjacent area of farmland were Kentucky's answer to prison rehabilitation.

Up to the present day, the 80-year old physical plant has essentially retained its original configuration. The 12-story administration building was originally designed to house the offices of key staff members, a hospital, medical offices and living quarters for correctional staff. The 11th floor houses the machinery of the elevator; the 12th floor houses a now nonfunctional one-hundred and fifty thousand (150,000) gallon water tank. Other buildings include an academic school, gymnasium, chapel, dining facility, inmate commissary, correctional industries, visitation building, and medical services building.

There are five (5) dormitories made up of individual rooms. KSR maintains a 150-bed correctional psychiatric treatment unit (CPTU) divided into two 50-bed wings and one 58-bed wing. Each wing provides specific programming for inmates assigned to that wing. The Reformatory also maintains a 67-bed Nursing Care Facility (NCF), a twenty (20) bed open wing maintained in the Medical Service building and a fifty (50) bed open wing Daily Assisted Living Unit (DAL).

KSR Primary mission is the be a specialized institution to provide extensive mental health and medical services to inmates within the system. The Medical Department provides on-site chemotherapy and dialysis treatments. Additionally, they coordinate Health Care Services which includes the director provision of routine and emergency medical and dental care and the provision of medical care of outside hospitals and private practitioners.

Institutional Information


​Security Status ​Medium
​Date Opened ​1936
​Population ​1,053
​Total Acreage ​43
​Total Staff ​321
​Black Inmates ​30%
​White Inmates ​70%
​Annual Cost Per Inmate ​$28,289.01
​Daily Cost Per Inmate ​$77.5
​Annual Operating Budget ​$28.7 Million


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