Dollars and Sentences Legislators' Views on Prisons, Punishment, and the Budget Crisis


In spring 2003, state legislatures faced with the worst budget crises in a generation scrambled for ways to cut corrections spending without jeopardizing public safety and confidence. In cooperation with the National Conference of State Legislatures, Vera's State Sentencing and Corrections Program brought together a diverse, bipartisan group of state representatives and senators with experience and interest in corrections and sentencing policy to talk about the impact of the budget crisis on criminal justice policies. Their wide-ranging conversation, summarized in this report, revealed how in some states partisan politics is taking a back seat to efforts to save money and produce better outcomes through increased attention to rehabilitation and prevention.