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Mike Beebe on Crime

Democratic Governor

 


Let non-violent offenders repay debt to society productively

We warehouse too many people in our prisons, and at our current rate of incarceration, we will need a projected additional $1.1 billion just to supply enough beds for the next decade. The choice will be whether to raise taxes to pay for those beds, or release potentially dangerous criminals because we have nowhere else to hold them.

Conversations about our corrections system are too often dominated by fear and anxiety. Many discussions end in new laws with harsher sentences and longer prison terms. To say that the only solution is to take no chances, to lock up non-violent offenders for longer and longer periods of time whatever the cost; to do this is to give up on trying to reform our corrections system and our society.

We must appropriately punish lawbreakers, but, in some instances, non-violent offenders can repay that debt to society while remaining productive for their families and their communities. If they don't correct their ways, incarceration will always be an option.

Source: 2011 Arkansas State of the State Address , Jan 11, 2011

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