Sentencing/Post Conviction

More States Weigh Early Prison Release Programs to Save Money

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Several states are considering programs to release inmates from jail early and save the cost of imprisonment.

Between 1987 and last year, states increased college spending by 21 percent, in inflation adjusted-dollars, and corrections spending by 127 percent, the Washington Post reports. Now many cash-strapped states are looking to pare prison budgets and ease inmate overcrowding.

Among the proposals outlined in the Post article:

–California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed releasing about 22,000 prisoners convicted of nonviolent, nonsexual offenses 20 months earlier than scheduled. The move is expected to save $1.1 billion over two years.

–The Rhode Island legislature has expanded rules that allow the early release of inmates for good behavior. The changes would save $8 billion over five years.

–The Kentucky legislature has voted to allow nonviolent, nonsexual offenders to serve up to 180 days of their sentences at home, and to make it easier for prisoners to earn credit for good behavior. The move could save $30 million.

–Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has signed into law a measure that allows some nonviolent offenders to go free after serving 25 percent of their sentences.

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