For John, BLUF: The US has 2.3 million people in jail. Many of them need to be there. The rest need help. In the mean time they are costing taxpayers money that might be spent elsewhere. Nothing to see here; just move along.
That bastion of Conservative thinking, The New York Times, has an article in the Science Section by Reporter John Tierney, which questions the wisdom of long mandatory sentences for crimes that don't involve physical violence. The author takes an obvious case, where the Reagan appointed Judge Roger Vinson believes the mandatory life sentence he imposed on Ms Stephanie George was disproportionately harsh. Worse, it has probably adversely impacted her children (she is a single mother). And, not as bad, but still bad, it has cost the taxpayers a lot of money to keep Ms George locked up and has deprived the economy of a possible worker and tax payer. And, the perverse incentives involved in others testifying against her has added to the problem.
In a nutshell, we have hundreds of thousands of people behind bars who could and should be out living free lives. I am not calling for the early release of murders and rapists. I am saying that many in jail for drug related offenses should be in treatment programs.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.
Regards — Cliff