Accelerating Turnover… and Overturn?
Speaking of proposals with gaping holes, if not blatant contradictions, in their reasoning, “key lawmakers and other major players in the state’s law and order community” offered Governor Carcieri some suggestions as to how he might free up some space in the ACI as part of attempts to decrease the state government’s deficit. Apparently:
31 percent of released prisoners are reincarcerated within a year, a rate that is 10 percent higher than the national average. Within three years, the number that return to the ACI is 50 percent.
Yet, every single one of the proposals that the Providence Journal reports focuses on making it easier for inmates to get out and harder for them to get back in, including this gem:
Target probation supervision to the first 12 months after release, when people are most likely to reoffend, and limit felony probation — which can now extend over 10 years or more — to 3 years “except for offenses punishable by life imprisonment.” Estimate: 27 fewer inmates.
If I’m reading this correctly, 27 incarcerated criminals would not currently be in prison under the proposed rules because they would have gotten away with crimes committed after their supervision ended or would have been sentenced with no consideration of their previous records, after probation ended. This strikes me as nearly the reverse of an effective focus.
Why is not a single proposal from these important folks in the “law and order community” targeted at making ex-cons more wary of doing things that might land them back in prison? If Rhode Island’s reincarceration rate is 10% higher than the national average, I can assure you that it is not because we make it too difficult for convicts to get out from behind the bars.
Ok . . . you have to be really cautious about accepting the Department of Corrections’ projections on this stuff.
Most probation violators are “vioalted” because they have committed a new crime. By limiting the length of probation you may eliminate probation violation as a basis for incarceration, but that won’t stop the individual from committing the new offense. So he or she is going to wind up back in the system based on the new offense, and, because the offender will already have a record, he or she will probably wind up in jail on the new offense.
What is the impact of this on inmate population. It seems likely that it will be very minor.
What about sending prisoners to out-of-state, privately-run prisons located in low cost areas?