Then – WAR ON DRUGS! JUST SAY NO! THIS IS YOUR BRAIN! WE’RE TOUGH! WE’RE RUTHLESS! WE’LL LOCK UP EVERY SINGLE CRIMINAL WHO EVEN LOOKS AT A POT SEED 4EVAR TO PROTECT OUR STREETS AND CHILDREN AAAARGH!!
Now – Golly. Keeping people locked up 4evar sure is expensive (via The Washington Post):
Reversing decades of tough-on-crime policies, including mandatory minimum prison sentences for some drug offenders, many cash-strapped states are embracing a view once dismissed as dangerously naive: It costs far less to let some felons go free than to keep them locked up.
It is a theory that has long been pushed by criminal justice advocates and liberal politicians — that some felons, particularly those convicted of minor drug offenses, would be better served by treatment, parole or early release for good behavior. But the states’ conversion to that view has less to do with a change of heart on crime than with stark fiscal realities. At a time of shrinking resources, prisons are eating up an increasing share of many state budgets.
Don’t worry dear citizens. The FoCs who own private prisons are likely pleading with Dear Chimperor e’en now to keep these very profitable dangerous animals off the streets. States’ rights? Vas ist das?
“It’s the fiscal stuff that’s driving it,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a Washington-based group that advocates for more lenient sentencing. “Do you want to build prisons or do you want to build colleges? If you’re a governor, it’s kind of come to that choice right now.”
Shhh! The Chimperor will decide to put the college students in prison.
Between 1987 and last year, states increased their higher education spending by 21 percent, in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to the Pew Center on the States. During the same period, spending on corrections jumped by 127 percent.
Duh! Haliburton doesn’t own any colleges.