Posted June 23, 2014, by Edmund R. Folsom.
Below is a link to a pretty good op. ed. piece about the overuse of incarceration as a response to crime. Most people favor jail and prison sentences for those convicted of crimes, except when either: (1) the convicted person is their family member, their friend, or themselves, or (2) the jails or prisons get so overcrowded that people are asked, as taxpayers, to approve a bond for a new one. It’s the cost factor that usually puts the brakes on increased incarceration. Legislative bodies face pressure because of jail and prison overcrowding, which leads them to float a bond to pay for a new one, which leads to voter refusal to approve the bond, which leads to a search for cost savings, which leads to fewer and shorter jail and prison sentences. It’s expensive to criminalize more and more behavior and to incarcerate more and more offenders. When it’s necessary, it’s necessary, but when it isn’t, it’s just stupid and costly. In the piece linked below, the authors point out that during the Reagan administration 1 of every 77 people in the U.S. was either incarcerated or under some form of community supervision. That rate has now risen to one in every 33 people. What’s up with that?
A CONSERVATIVE CALL FOR LESS INCARCERATION.