Opinion Poll, Jan. 27, 2014

Would providing sentencing alternatives for nonviolent offenders and funding programs to better prepare prisoners for re-entry into society be appropriate ways of reducing prison system costs?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
  • TWBDB

    Let’s review the alternatives. A kid gets arrested for drug use: their picture is plastered in the newspaper for everyone to see: convicted of a felony: institutionalized with hardened criminals. When he/she gets out, they have all this baggage to overcome – hard to find a job, especially in a town where everyone knows everyone else, so they turn back to drugs to make a living. Now, they’ve got more serious connections and methodologies that they’ve meet and learned while institutionalized. The cycle repeats itself.

    Or, this same kid gets arrested for drug use: this remains a private matter (no news coverage): they’re entered into a mandatory mentoring program with positive role models. Whether this program is in-house or out-patient is determined by the severity of the incident and past history. The kid learns that society values their existence and wishes to see them succeed and become a positive role model for someone else.

    Which would you choose?

  • Jerry Patterson

    Have you ever noticed how often those who are arrested from crimes have committed previous crimes and been left off of the hook. Almost everyone who has been execute for murder in Mississippi have been previously convicted of murder and the been released to kill again. Also, when people are let off for so-called nonviolent crimes, are they not more liable to move to more violent crime? Where are the studies that show otherwise. I have seen none. When I was taking psychology (more tan 55 years ago), my professor made the statement that harsh punishment i. e. the death penalty, did nothing to reduce crime. I embarrassed him by asking, “How many more crimes will a person who has been executed commit?”

    • TWBDB

      Actually Mr Patterson, the studies on this subject are pretty clear. The states are taking money away from education to pay for the incarceration of non-violent criminals. The prison population has risen to such a level that violent criminals are being released earlier. The state and federal government must rethink our priorities.

      • Jerry Patterson

        Actually, the studies indicate just the opposite of what you say. See California’s Yochelson?Samenow report of the work with 200-plus criminals over a fifteen-year period. This is the only really scientific study made. The result seems to be just the opposite of what you posted at first. Of course, this has not been widely reported because it does not give the answer people want.

        • TWBDB

          I’d be happy to read the report if you’d share a link. I tried to look it up and only came up with Yochelson law firm links. It’s fairly easy to find actual studies on this topic and even study review articles. All the one’s I’ve read have reported a lower recitivism rate for ‘drug court participants’ even greater for graduates of ‘drug court programs’. The rate reduction in the articles I came across was as small as 6 percent to as large as 45% when comparing actual graduates of the drug court systems to non-participants. These alternatives actually do work very, very well Mr Patterson – - and these are data on a system that’s only been in existence for a very short time as compared to traditional incarceration. These data should only get better as we actually start to address addiction in a better way.

        • TWBDB

          As with all things, the truth is far easier to swallow than a box of crap, even if the truth is not what we’d like to hear. In this case, the truth is very encouraging.