Is It Time For Sentencing Reform?

by TChris

Could it be that sound public policy (and a bit of press) can convince a politician to rethink a state's approach to sentencing? Is it finally safe for public servants to acknowledge that lengthy prison sentences often waste the public's money without making the public safer?

TalkLeft called attention to a Wisconsin newspaper's critical reporting of the state's harsh sentencing laws and swollen prison population, as well as a recent editorial that chided state politicians for ignoring repeated cries for reform. Gov. Jim Doyle, never known to be soft-on-crime during his years as Wisconsin's Attorney General, has apparently seen the light.

Hoping to slow, if not reverse, the escalation of the state's prison population, Gov. Jim Doyle will propose in his next two-year budget to dramatically expand drug and alcohol treatment for criminal offenders and provide more services - and alternative punishments - for offenders outside of prison.

The state's Republican legislature may want to perpetuate the expensive status quo (the many small communities that depend upon prisons for jobs tend to send Republicans to Madison), but some members may start to feel heat from budget-minded constituents who think the Governor's modest proposal for sentencing alternatives is worth a try. Has the public grown so weary of tough-on-crime rhetoric that real changes can be made in a government's approach to crime and punishment?

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    Re: Is It Time For Sentencing Reform? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Feb 07, 2005 at 06:27:46 PM EST
    How about some real evidence before you put a person in prison for 10 to life? many people have been sent to prison without any kind of proof of a crime, some said up to 30 percent, at a cost of $18,000 to $30,000 per yr. to say nothing of murder/rape/beatings/torture. and how would you like it if you were in prison and had not done the crime? Its so much fun to watch a nation coming apart and people don't see it.