Land O Links: Prison edition

The political dynamics of each state will vary, but the trend toward changes in how states deal with prisons and holding felons is unmistakable. A few highlights from around the nation:

* A full rundown, from an advocacy group, of state by state reform efforts, including whether the states have sentencing commissions:

http://www.famm.org/StateSentencing.aspx

* Georgia (Republican governor, GOP legislature) created a sentencing reform commission in 2011 with an eye toward saving money. The commission’s report is due in early 2012:

http://onlineathens.com/stories/042311/new_818735279.shtml

* Kansas (Republican governor, GOP legislature) has a sentencing commission with the specific charge of scientific evaluation of sentences and whether they work -- just what the Center for Michigan is suggesting Michigan needs. And, conservative darling Gov. Sam Brownback has often talked of prison reform: http://onlineathens.com/stories/042311/new_818735279.shtml

*Arkansas passed sentencing reform in 2011 to ease overcrowding:

http://arkansasnews.com/2011/03/09/tax-breaks-pass-house-bible-in-school-bill-pulled/

*Colorado loosened sentences on drug offenses in 2010 and is beginning to see some savings:

http://cdpsweb.state.co.us/cccjj/PDF/Commission%20reports/HB1352_2012-01.pdf

* Republican Gov. John Kasich’s sentencing reforms in Ohio for nonviolent offenders:

http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2011/06/ohio_gov_john_kasich_signs_sen.html.

* Republican Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels pushes for prison sentencing reform and blames overzealous prosecutors for blocking it:

http://www.wane.com/dpp/news/daniels-optimistic-on-prison-reform

* Texas turns to treatment:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/prison-reform-advocates-press-states-to-shift-money-out-of-corrections-system/2011/04/04/AFeCXolC_story.html

* South Carolina Sentencing Commission lightens up on drug crimes while tightening up on sex crimes:

http://www.thecenterformichigan.net/special-report-learning-from-prison-cuts-in-other-states/

* According to the Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice, "Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas, and a handful of other states have successfully taken the initiative because of their recognition that prison reduction is not only a smart fiscal policy but a smart public safety policy. Although politicians can ruin their careers by being labeled as 'soft-on-crime,' these states have shown that there are reasonable alternatives to being 'tough-on-crime.' Republican Kentucky Senator Tom Jenson was quoted as saying his state’s sentencing reform bill is 'smart on crime' ...": http://www.cjcj.org/post/adult/corrections/conservative/states/leading/way/prison/reform)

 

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