As as result of the decline in state revenues and the explosion in the prison population, several states are now looking at ways to reduce the number of inmates.
Inmates Who Should Walk
Judges Back a 1/3 Reduction in State Prison Population
States should be concerned with the ruling in California. If they fail to act on their own, the courts will intervene. The article on the actions that Virginia is considering demonstrate that prisons and jails across the country could benefit from a review of their own admission, release, and sentencing polices. Non-violent offenders can be safely released and managed in the community, but additional resources will have to become available. Not an easy task given the state of the economy and the fear by elected officials that they will be labeled soft on crime. But can we sustain the prison-industrial complex in light of the numbers of inmates and the reduction in state budgets?