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.