Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mississippi Reducing Prison Population

Corrections Commissioner Advocates More Spending on Education

Since 2008, Mississippi has trimmed its corrections budget by about 5%, to $332 million, according to Time. Reducing the prison population hasn't caused the state's violent crime rate to rise. In fact, the rate is falling toward 1970s levels, and the state's recidivism rate has decreased to 30% in the last four years — well below the national average.

The state is testing a global-positioning device that costs about $13 a day per convict to keep tabs on an individual — far less than the $41.74 cost to house and feed a prisoner. "We're still monitoring you, which is probably better than in some of my facilities," Chris Epps, commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections told Time. Elderly and terminally ill inmates are being released to their families, or hospices, saving nearly $5 million.

Epps expects the number of people placed on house arrest to increase — as soon as Mississippi's wireless commission, which he chairs, expands Internet access to rural areas. In the coming months, he will push legislation to expand inmates' eligibility for parole — potentially lowering the prison population by 19%, to 17,000, within two years. Projected savings: $52 million. "We can't spend enough on education," he told Time, "and that's a direct correlation to the number of people coming to me."

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Granted, we’re doing a hell of a lot wrong in regards to our educational and prison system, but this post I recently read (linkage here for those interested: seems to combine the two for what I see as an ideal situation. Although an expense, consider the advantages of educating our prisoners. Be it hope or a newfound sense of purpose, getting our of prison will be that much more solid for these guys and potentially that much less intrusive of our taxpayer pocketbook. Just my thoughts. A little off topic, but your post made me think of that.

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