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:

* 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:

* 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:

*Arkansas passed sentencing reform in 2011 to ease overcrowding:

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

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

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

* Texas turns to treatment:

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

* 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' ...":


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