Pubdate: Mon, 12 Mar 2007
Source: Columbian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2007 The Columbian Publishing Co.
Author: Michaela Mosteller


According to a recent story in the Longview Daily News, 42 percent of 
people entering our prisons are repeat offenders. The prediction is 
that we will realize a 28 percent increase in our prison population 
in the next five years. Do these facts not tell us that we are doing 
something wrong?

We are filling up our prisons faster than we can build them. The cost 
of corrections has increased from $500 million some 10 years ago to a 
current $1.1 billion. Our dumb punishment-only approach to crime has 
netted a mass incarceration that is unsustainable.

Would not a better plan be to eliminate the mandatory minimum 
sentencing laws so that judges can judge and so that people are not 
spending their entire lives in prison because they made bad decisions 
when young and dumb and probably addicted? Would not some of that 
money be better spent on treatment, education and rehabilitation so 
that recidivism is reduced and therefore prison population?

Michaela Mosteller

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