Joe Barrett of the Wall Street Journal reports on the heated prison closure debate in Illinois. In the article, Barrett refers to Vera's new report, Realigning Justice Resources, and includes a quote from one of its author's, Ram Subramanian.
States across the U.S. have been struggling to find ways to cut prison costs while maintaining public safety.
Spending rose in most states between 2005 and 2010, according to a recent report by the Vera Institute of Justice and the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States.
But states such as Michigan, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Virginia cut prison populations and spending over the period by changing sentencing laws and shifting money to prevention, drug-abuse counseling and other programs for low-level offenders on the local level, the study by the two nonpartisan think tanks said.
"They realized they need to use their scant resources on high-risk offenders, and that there are more cost-effective ways to deal with medium- and low-risk offenders, primarily in the community," said Ram Subramanian, program associate with Vera's Center on Sentencing and Corrections.