The U.S. believes in tough punishment and prison is a favorite option. The U.S. accounts for only 5% of the world’s population but houses 25% of the world’s prisoners. And when crime costs a prisoner his or her freedom, it costs the taxpayers a lot of money to keep them locked up. Prisons are becoming a crushing load on local, state and federal budgets. In states like California, prisons cost taxpayers more than K-12 education.
Oregon is having to deal with the same dilemma. Between the state legislature and voter initiatives, those punished for their crimes are winding up in prison more often and for far longer than ever before, draining money from state and local budgets like a wound that won’t stop bleeding. Add to the mix the inexact science of “inmate forecasting,” and we get a most uncertain future.
The story is in the Oregonian. Click here.