Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good and Mad Reading for the Weekend

FAMM is closed tomorrow, in honor of Veteran's Day, but we won't leave you without some juicy reading for the long weekend ahead.

This new, sure-to-madden report from the ACLU is called Banking on Bondage:  Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration.  And if that title doesn't grab you, you just haven't been studying sentencing long enough.

FAMM doesn't have an official position on the use of private prisons, but it's an extremely important issue, and one that many of our members care about deeply.  One thing we do know for sure:  we send too many people to prison for too long, and our mandatory sentencing laws allow the wrong people (legislators and prosecutors) to decide the minimum amount of time a person should spend behind bars.

The math is easy:  too many people in prison for too long = more prisons, more costs, legislators looking for more ways to save money, including using private prisons.  Do private prisons actually save money, though?  The report gets into that thorny issue starting on page 19.

There are cheaper, more effective alternatives available than jail cells.  Here's one sure-fire way to save money:  don't send people to prison if they don't need it, and let judges make that decision.