Saturday, February 21, 2009

Prison population reduction

One percent of adult Americans are in jail or prison. The problem is worse in Michigan, which spends nearly two billion a year on the 11th-highest per-capita prison population. Lots of people are upset, but misconceptions of the problem will get in the way of fixing it, says John Pfaff. Read his Five Myths About Prison Growth, which concludes:

We need to stop admitting many minor offenders, even if they're serving only short sentences. We need to focus less on high-profile drug statutes and more on the ways small-fry drug convictions cause later crimes to result in longer sentences. Once we start admitting fewer people to prison, we should shift money from prisons to police. If this seems like tinkering, rather than a sweeping fix, that's because it is. See Myth No. 4: Reformers shouldn't waste their breath trying to turn us into Europe.

Governor Granholm wants to cut the prison population as a key part of balancing Michigan's budget.

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