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March 24, 2009

"To Cut Costs, States Relax Prison Policies"

The title of this post is the title of this new piece from the New York Times.  Here are excerpts:

For nearly three decades, most states have dealt with lawbreakers in two ways: lock more of them up for longer periods, and build more prisons to hold them. Now many governments, out of money and buried under mounting prison costs, are reversing those policies and practices.

Some states, like Colorado and Kansas, are closing prisons. Others, like New Jersey, have replaced jail time with community programs or other sanctions for people who violate parole. Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill this month that enhances the credits some inmates can earn toward release....

Being tough on crime and sentencing has long been the clear path toward job retention for state lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats alike. But the economic crisis is forcing them to take a more pragmatic approach as prisoners are increasingly seen less as indistinct wrongdoers and more as expenses that must be reined in....

Recessions tend to prompt changes to corrections policies. After the recession at the start of this decade, numerous states enacted laws eliminating some long mandatory minimum sentences; several began to offer early release and treatment options to some drug offenders. Those changes, though, were far less reaching than what is happening now and did little to curb exploding corrections budgets.

In the past 20 years, correction department budgets have quadrupled and are outpacing every major spending area outside health care, according to a recent report by the Pew Center on the States. With 7.3 million Americans in prison, on parole or under probation, states spent $47 billion in 2008, the study said.

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March 24, 2009 at 11:49 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Take a look at this shameless attempt by a scumbag defendant to decrease his sentence.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/MOST_WANTED_ARREST?SITE=FLTAM&SECTION=US

Posted by: federalist | Mar 25, 2009 8:30:56 PM

this should of been done yearssss agooo before they broking calif and the taxpayersss... now the people that work for years and years to see there ss benfits are the ones that loses with all the cut arnold made... how sad ..
there is a lot of inmatessss that would do good cause they have family that would help them

Posted by: dlang | Mar 29, 2009 7:47:17 PM

the whole corrupt criminal system is driven by vile public employee unions. it's not a question of justice but stupidity. Big Pharma are developing meds to treat addiction; these reckless expenses
willl be elimanted

Posted by: jcat | Jul 22, 2009 8:31:39 PM

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