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Public Policy

Increasing Demand for Corrections Reform

Ian Scott on Monday, September 20, 2010 at 10:21:10 am

Spurred by research, like the Pew Center on the States' 1 in 100 Report, leaders from the public and private sectors are calling for a reevaluation of sentencing guidelines and prison spending.  The calls are not surprising considering that the precipitous rise in incarceration costs many states have experienced over the past decade does not correlate to a similar increase in public safety.  In short, we need to be smarter about what we spend for public safety.

Here are two recent articles on the topic worth reading: 

Kentucky Chamber President and CEO David Adkisson makes the case for smarter prison policy in an op-ed for Kentucky business newspaper The Lane Report.  Read - Correcting the State’s Budget  

Recent headlines have brought some very welcome news about an effort to improve public safety and tackle the skyrocketing costs of Kentucky’s corrections system. A bipartisan group of state leaders from all three branches of government – including the governor, Senate president, speaker of the House and chief justice – have partnered with the highly regarded Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States to find ways to slow the dizzying pace of spending that has marked the corrections budget in recent years, and get a better return on the dollars that we do spend. ... The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is especially concerned about this because of what it means for education: As corrections spending has grown, education’s share of the budget has declined. 

Sue Bell Cobb, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, address the issue in an article for the Anniston Star.  Read - Stopping the revolving door

Our state is in obvious need of change. Alabama can alleviate prison overcrowding while at the same time hold offenders accountable. Research shows there are effective corrections strategies for low-risk offenders that can produce less crime at less cost, while saving expensive prison space for violent offenders who need to be there.  It is time for Alabama to take a data-driven approach to corrections policy to better preserve public safety and our state’s pocketbook. We must stop the revolving door.

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