Friday, November 16, 2012

Cutting Prison Costs from Both Ends

We missed this important editorial from The New York Times from last weekend.  It calls for better (and more) reentry programming and eliminating obstacles to successful reentry.  While we agree wholeheartedly with that message, we found a vital point lacking:  back-end reforms that reduce recidivism are not, standing alone, enough to make a real dent in our overincarceration conundrum.

If we want to see real downsizing of prison populations -- and costs -- we need front-end reforms that stop sending so many people to prison for so long.  Mandatory minimum sentences have caused prison populations and costs to soar over the last 30 years.  States across the country know it, and they have started passing reforms that are turning off the faucet, sending fewer people into their overflowing prisons and letting them return to society sooner.  Better reentry programming in and out of prison will surely drive down recidivism, but it's not enough.  We need to be smarter on all ends to see real cost savings.

1 Comment:

Mary at said...

This has been going on for 40 years!!!!! This is insane!!! Who is responsible for this madness????Congress is our law makers--maybe we should have just one of them spend just one month in prison and see if they feel they can get rehabilated, if they feel this is the way to treat our fellow Americans and if we should continue this madness especially for non violent people.