It is a widely known fact that the United States of America has more people in prison per capita than in most all other first world nations. Yet we do not have the lowest crime rates, yet one would think we should. Part of the problem is the recidivism rates are astoundingly high and some has to do with education. Nevertheless it the problem is not going away even if we fixed those two things. And thus this became a serious topic in an online Internet forum recently.
See for your self as two members discuss this very important issue.The first think tank member states; "As for reform of the criminal court system - if the laws are amended to give judges discretion again, this will go far in reducing sentences for petty offenders who DO need some sort of consequences but not lifelong punishment and stigma.".But many judges are really Lawyer/politicians and cannot be trusted. They are humans and well you just cannot trust humans you know? So can we trust judges to not give breaks to friends of friends and people in higher places, which leaves out the poor who cannot afford favors, thus corrupting the system.
Regarding the life long punishment and stigma indeed that too is an issue. Yet if someone is a known felon and we all know the high-risk of repeat offenders in this nation do you want that person working in your company? Do you? So if we had lower recidivism then perhaps the second problem of life long stigma might disappear."Another specific suggestion I would make is that there be diversion programs for lower level offenses - if the govt took even the $25,000 it would have spent for one year in prison and spent a third of that on plugging them into the appropriate programs (drug treatment, anger management, citizenship, civics, parenting classes) as well as the usual community service, the community would benefit. This $12,000 could also be in addition to what the person has to pay as fines and the funds saved by not going through lengthy trials (with associated public pretender/district attorney costs and clerks, judge, etc.).
".Hmmm? Good point. Interesting. Yes the over all return on investment of such a program makes sense but getting the taxpayer to want to spend that kind of money might be a little tough to have them swallow, but it makes logical sense.You state; "With automatic diversion programs or a structured probation program for the lowest-level offences, it would reduce recidivism greatly. (An acquaintance wrote an amazing 7-year probation program) so other countries have solved this problem already" that I cannot attach here.
I would be happy to email it.).Perhaps this may be a right step towards solving the issue, but again there are costs involved and every time we expand public services the government gets bigger and less efficient meaning the blob of bureaucracy keeps on growing and growing? But this also makes a lot of sense indeed. Good thoughts here. Worthy of consideration and we should all think on this in 2006.."Lance Winslow" - Online Think Tank forum board. If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; http://www.WorldThinkTank.
By: Lance Winslow