“Time to Get Smart on Crime”: New Report Pans Massachusetts’ Criminal Justice Practices

Getting tough on crime, 1756-style
Getting tough on crime, 1756-style

The Boston Globe is publicizing a new report from Community Resources for Justice and MassInc, focusing on Massachusetts’ unexpectedly draconian and wasteful criminal justice policies.

We heartily recommend that you read the whole thing, but here are the striking take-aways.

We are spending 6% more on incarceration than we are spending on education. Low-level drug offenders sentenced under mandatory minimum laws are driving a substantial portion of the costs. Offenders are routinely overclassified into higher and more expensive levels of security than they really need. And Massachusetts is not being strategic about its incarceration spending to make sure that it is getting the least reoffending for a given budget.

A very human desire to lock everybody up for ever takes no account of the costs, or of how doing that crowds out investment in other things we might like more of, like better education, lead abatement or public transportation, which also in turn have a positive effect on crime down the road.

I wonder if the Lege and the AG’s Office are listening? Or will they keep wasting our taxes on strategies that don’t work?

[VIA: Sentencing Law and Policy]