Editorial: Sensible Sentences for Nonviolent Offenders
The enormous strain prison costs put on state budgets has led some conservatives and liberals to do something sensible together. Democrats and Republicans in several states are pushing to reform criminal justice policies based on strong evidence that imprisoning nonviolent offenders for ever longer terms adds huge costs with little benefit to public safety.
Texas closed a prison last year, for the first time in its history, after reducing its prison population by steering nonviolent drug offenders to treatment and adopting other policies.
A new study by the Pew Center on the States reports that additional time in prison costs states more than $10 billion. More than half the extra cost was for nonviolent offenders.