05/30/2010 - As states across the nation recognize that prison costs are busting tight budgets and doing little to reform offenders, many governors and legislators are thinking outside the cell.
Mississippi lawmakers decided in 2008 to cut prison costs by allowing all nonviolent offenders to be considered for parole after serving 25 percent of a sentence instead of 85 percent.
A special report in last Sunday’s editions of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed that Georgia has the nation’s fourth-highest incarceration rate. The state ranks first nationally in overall criminal punishment, with 1 in 13 Georgians either behind bars, on probation or on parole, according to a study published by the Pew Center on the States.
“The political and policy environment on crime and punishment has changed drastically over just the past few years,” said Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Center on the States. “State and national leaders on both sides of the aisle are starting to realize there are research-based strategies that protect public safety and hold offenders accountable without sinking ever more public treasure into prisons.”
Read the full article, Prison Budget Burdens Georgia, on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Web site.