This article from The Crime Report incorrectly assumes that adopting certain policies will save money and not increase crime, but we need to keep in mind that protecting ourselves domestically from predatory criminals can be as proportionately expensive as protecting ourselves internationally from predatory regimes or terrorists.
One egregious example being the article’s assumption that releasing the elderly from prison—some calling for this policy define the age of becoming elderly at 45 and 55—will not increase crime.
This represents an abysmal lack of knowledge about the criminal world where many criminals maintain a very active criminality well into their seventies and eighties.
“On August 1, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to look at rising federal prison spending and its impact on the overall criminal justice budget. The hearing followed the release of a letter by Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer to the U.S. Sentencing Commission arguing that federal corrections spending is forcing reductions in federal assistance to states for police, prosecutors, and prevention programs.
“Prompting both events, of course, is the government’s miserable financial condition, marked by record federal deficits and ballooning national debt that have forced the President and Congress to look throughout the federal budget for places to cut spending….
“FAMM has long advocated applying the same cost-benefit analysis applied to so many other policies and regulations to the criminal justice system.
“When we talk of cost-benefit analysis, we do not mean that society should tolerate more crime to save money. The cost of many crimes—measured in lost property and money, in personal injury, and, tragically, in lost lives—far exceeds the cost of incarceration.
“Compared to losing a loved one or losing one’s life savings, the approximately $28,000 per year it costs to keep a dangerous person in federal prison seems like a bargain. But when that money is spent on excessive and one-size-fits-all prison terms for those who are not a threat or would thrive with smarter alternative punishments, we waste scarce resources and put society at risk….
“There are many different ways policymakers might seek to reduce corrections spending while maintaining if not improving public safety.
“They can make better use of the compassionate release program so that elderly, disabled, and terminally ill offenders, who pose no threat to society, are not forced to serve their full sentences.”