Will public policy follow public opinion on crime and sentencing? Let’s hope so.
A report released last week by the Pew Center on the States reflects a significant shift in how Americans view our large and over-populated prison systems.
The bottom line is presented like this: “Some of the money that we are spending on locking up low-risk, non-violent inmates should be shifted to strengthening community corrections programs like probation and parole.”
Other key findings . . .
– A plurality of Americans believe there are too many people in prisons.
– A strong majority, even among victims, believes prison is not always the best response to non-violent crimes.
– All the approaches examined to reduce prison time served are broadly acceptable to voters.
– Nearly all voters prioritize preventing recidivism over time served, even when prison time varies up to a year.
Browse through this report. Do you agree? Are Memphis and Tennessee prepared to shift the approach to sentencing?