States releasing prisoners early may pay for it later


USA Today

In any context, cost cutting in times of economic stress tends to produce shortsighted solutions. But several states struggling to cope with the recession have settled on one approach that is a certain recipe for long-term trouble. They are releasing large numbers of "non-violent" offenders from prison.

Exhibit A is what has been going on in Kentucky. Last year, in a bid to save $30 million over two years, the Legislature started granting early releases to inmates. Only after 2,500 prisoners were on the way out the door did the legislators realize that in their rush, they had unleashed violent felons and sex offenders along with less dangerous prisoners.

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