The Center for Economic and Policy Research in the United States has issued a simple and utterly compelling case for reducing the numbers in prison.
Showing that the rate of incarceration rate in the US has far, far outstripped the rates of violent crime, property crime and population increases, the Center argues that massive reductions in federal and state budgets could be made by reducing the numbers of non-violent offenders in prison, without an appreciable effect on public safety. The amounts are in the order of several billion dollars.
In Ireland, over 80% of those sent to prison are sentenced for non-violent offenders. This figure rises to 93% in the case of women prisoners. The potential for huge savings is enormous if we are to follow the lead suggested by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The time is ripe for such savings.