By the AJC Editorial Board
Locking ’em up and ditching the key never was a cheap approach to punishing criminals. Nor was it particularly effective, or efficient, it seems.That must change, as a new report makes clear that our criminal corrections model is broken, unaffordable and unsustainable.
That’s proved by the cost of maintaining this dysfunctional system. It has more than doubled since 1990, standing now at more than a $1 billion annual burden to this cash-tight state.
The good news is that remaking our corrections system should save money in the long run. As a bonus, it might help the crime rate fall even further.
Doing a better job of handling criminals is a necessity for reasons other than monetary ones. In the past two decades, Georgia’s prison head count more than doubled, driving us into the unwanted distinction of having one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation. Meanwhile, our criminal recidivism — backsliding, if you will — has remained unchanged for a decade as prison stints did little to prevent inmates from showing up at the gates time and again.
Read what our editorial board has to say and comment below.