Letters to the Editor

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PRISONS: Criminal justice system is broken

Letter by Moira H. O'Crotty, Tacoma on Jan. 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm with 12 Comments »
January 11, 2011 3:06 pm

Criminal justice reform is an issue that has been considered off-limits for a very long time. However, there is an urgent need to address the astronomical growth of the prison populations now with its huge costs in tax dollars and in lost human potential. Several states have done so and have shown that large costs can be saved without compromising public safety.

We spent $68 billion on corrections in this country last year. That is an increase of 300 percent over 25 years ago. The prison populations are growing 13 times faster than the general population, This is a fact that should trouble every American. We can no longer look the other way. The criminal justice system is broken and needs fixing.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, half of those released from prison are expected to return within three years. If our policies are failing half of the time, and there are more humane alternatives proven to be more effective, it is time to rethink how we treat and rehabilitate the incarcerated.

We know that we can reform our prison systems to cost less and still keep the public safe. Let your Legislators know that they need to get smart on crime.

Leave a comment Comments → 12
  1. So far all I see is a bunch of hand waving. What are you proposing to fix the problem and still keep us safe?

  2. MadTaxpayer says:

    Easy…build a massive Washington State Criminal Cemetery!
    Start by filling it with offenders. Cheap, easy, and no Guards!

  3. Theoldsergeant says:

    Right on Mr. Fatuous.

  4. An earlier letter recommended looking at contracting it out. Mexico would be a start, pay them to keep our prisoners. Side benefit will be better jobs to keep down the illegal alien number. Plus, it will only take one experience in a Mexican prison to serve as a big deterrent to going back.

    On the surface it does sound comical. But since we have shipped so many manufacturing jobs out, why not the high price of maintaining prisons?

    Death Rows could be contracted to China – one bullet is definitely cheaper.

    The economic mess we are is has limited to free-spending social experiments that the liberals keep coming up with. Without the money to fund all the namby-pamby ” ideas on prison reforms that liberals dream up , the reality of the sheer numbers of prisoners (let’s make no mistake, more crime being committed is the sole reason for an ever growing prison population) is going to hit us between the eyes sooner than later.

    Let them loose? I’m sure the ultra-liberal mind-set would prefer this kind of “humane treatment”. Even now we have shorter sentences served (regardless of the actual sentence), and with their prison stay not being such a deterrent for some (it;s easier to do the time than work hard at not doing the crime), we already have a revolving door of repeat offenders.

    Oh, but liberals will say we need to throw more money at this, or education, or general welfare to create the mythical “level playing field”. So if all we have spent so far on these programs has resulted in it being worse than it was 50 years ago, where are we headed?

  5. truthbusterguy says:

    Steal Joseph M. “Joe” Arpaio from AZ and bring him here to fix our system

    You will cut cost and prevent criminals from re offending. A win-win for WA state. So much of out prision cost if because we try to coddle the people in prison instead of punishing them.

    It’s time to try punishment as a deterient to crime. Don’t you know you can’t colish a turd?

  6. andreab451 says:

    “Hard time” has gotten way too soft in WA. Truthbuster hit it right on the head. It’s time to take away all the prisoners’ luxuries and actually punish them.

  7. nonstopjoe says:

    Those who are imprisoned should be sterilized – to prevent them from bringing more criminals into the world. Eventually, the pool of criminals would shrink.

  8. omega629 says:

    I agree with the above statements. Make prison miserable and no one would go.

  9. chucksrage says:

    To many of the comments here have no idea what the problem is with the increase in criminal population or why prisons are so much a revolving door these days. One person says sterilize them so they dont create more, but in fact this will do nothing but cost more money. One person says make prison harder not a luxory, that I can agree with. Make big rocks into little rocks is what I say but that may not fix the problem either. many people get oout of prison and cant find jobs. I realize that currently the economy is in the tank but even when its not they cant find jobs. So many companies these days use background checks as a way of weeding out the undesirable. If a person only has 1 conviction for a short amount of time say 18 months or less why arent we giving this person a chance to prove there worth instead of dumping them back in the cess pool that society has created. Because of this prison has become a revolving door.

    One way of fixing the problem is understanding what the terms of the conviction really means. everybody these days are easy to jump on the bandwagon of kill em all but how would you feel if your son or daughter or a close relative was the person convicted. I dont care what you think every person has the ability to become a prison inmate regardless of gender, education or upbringing. just one lapse in judgement well get them there.

  10. slasmith says:

    Yes Chuck it is easy to cast blame, but you are offering nothing either. If you were a prospective employer (be honest) and had two applicants for the job with equal skills and education would you choose the convicted felon or the other applicant to work for you?

  11. slasmith says:

    ….. And remember the felon made the choice that got them the conviction it is not societies fault it is their own.

  12. bobcat1a says:

    well, madtaxpayer, the world has a long history of homicidal dictators who agreed with your philosophy. Congrats.

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