Gov's plan to ease prison overcrowding appears dead
A plan pushed by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels aimed at reducing Indiana's prison crowding by easing penalties for low-level offenders appears dead in the Legislature after running into stiff opposition from county prosecutors.
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#1 Apr 16, 2011
Halfway Houses or Transitional Housing is an underutilized but critical component of the criminal justice system. The crime rate is down throughout the United States yet overwhelmingly many states are experiencing a major strain on their budgets due to jail and prison incarceration. State government is more and more turning to community based programming to help them with their problems of jail/prison overcrowding.
Many states have taken a hard look at research which has demonstrated that providing comprehensive multi-discipline treatment to the lower level offender in a community based setting decreases the likelihood that they will recidivate. It costs anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 to incarcerate an inmate in prison and a similar amount in the local jails and half this amount for effective community based programming in day reporting programs and residential programs such as Halfway/Transitional Housing programs. Some of these facilities are contracted directly by government agencies and others are funded through Federal and other grant funding sources.
Unfortunately, what has happened in Indiana is repeating itself across this country and various reasons are stated but it always seem to come down to the politician's fear of being viewed as soft on crime. It is sad to say but, political officials need political cover to take legislative stances on matters related to crime and punishment. Consequently, it is critical that the communities most impacted by crime advocate on their behalf by demonstrating their approval for the legislative changes. Otherwise, it is what it is...and remember elections matter.
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