468x60 General & Logo

States trim penalties, prison rolls, even as Sessions gets tough

If lawmakers approve the changes, Louisiana will be following more than 30 states, including Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, that have limited sentences, expanded alternatives to incarceration such as drug treatment, or otherwise reduced the reach and cost of the criminal justice system. Even more, Sessions’ approach conflicted with one of the few major points of bipartisan national agreement over the past decade, that criminal justice could be more effective by becoming less punitive to low-level offenders, treating root causes of crime like drug addiction, and reserving more resources to go after serious, violent criminals. [...] if Sessions’ appointment has dampened the hopes of those wishing for congressional action to reduce incarceration, advocates say it has had little effect on state efforts. “There was a lot of speculation that with the rhetoric from the presidential campaign, there would be a drop in momentum, but we haven’t seen that,” said Marc Levin, policy director for Right on Crime, a group at the fore of conservative efforts to reduce incarceration rates. Bloated corrections budgets took money that could be spent on schools, roads or tax breaks, while many of those who went through the prison system went on to offend again.

Article by By Richard A. Oppel (c) Page One News - Read full story here.