October 27th, 2010
Critics of the Missouri system feel that this is an embarrassment for the state. They claim the cost of punishing individuals who have been convicted of crimes should not be a factor taken into consideration by the court. They claim society would be at greater risk if the criminals are not incarcerated and that administering justice is a separate issue from the resulting financial impact on society.
The State of Michigan has closed some of its prisons. Arizona is currently considering privatizing its correctional facilities. California, a state in dire financial straights, is investigating all types of ways to reduce the amount of individuals incarcerated within its borders.
Query: Should judges handing out criminal sentences for individuals convicted of misdemeanors and felonies take in consideration the cost to New York State for keeping those individuals in jail? Should individuals convicted of nonviolent crimes receive alternative sentences to incarceration?
I personally see no harm in providing a judge with the actual cost of sentencing an individual who appears before him or her. I believe Missouri’s system of providing judges with the cost of the jail terms they hand out to be a good idea. Incarceration of nonviolent offenders for small, petty crimes is a waste of valuable (and extremely limited) resources!