Monday, October 12, 2009

Reduced Crime = Less Prisons

This article in NY Times entitled "The High Cost of Empty Prisons" caught my eye today. It is a surprise to see the prison population falling. Is this another demographic trend. Should New York be considering turning them into "retirement villas"? (that is only half as funny as intended).
After New York passed the Rockefeller drug laws in 1973, a mandatory sentencing movement swept the country, raising the nationwide prison population to nearly 2.4 million, from 300,000. This experiment in mass incarceration was a failure. There is no conclusive evidence that it enhanced public safety, and some research suggests that time in prison makes people more prone to violence. It wasted billions of dollars a year. And it has devastated the low-income minority communities where most of our prisoners come from.
Something to think about.

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