America is facing one of the worst fiscal crises ever. The shrunken budgets are forcing unforeseen cuts in public spending.
Being a prime target for cuts, corrections was the fastest-expanding segment of states’ spending in prior years and the costs are well over $50 billion annually. This is not a consequence of higher crime rates but the result of state policies that send more people to prison and keep them there for longer sentences.
The growth of our prison populations is astounding, but even larger yet is the growth of those on probation and parole. A recent report states that one in every 31 adults in America is incarcerated and under some form of criminal justice supervision.
The fact that so many Americans, including thousands who are a threat to no one, are incarcerated means that something is totally wrong with our system and the way we deal with both the dangerous and those whose behavior we simply do not like. Our systems need some close scrutiny and should be prime targets for reform.
Focus should be placed on incarcerating the dangerous instead of wasting taxes on those who are not.