Last week, Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia, and Deborah Daniels, former assistant U.S. attorney general for the Office of Justice Programs, co-published an article on WashingtonPost.com called “Less Incarceration Could Lead to Less Crime.”
In their article, Cuccinelli and Daniels highlight the dramatic increase in the number of incarcerated Americans over the last several decades in response to a spike in crime in the 1960s. They also note that crime rates have slightly decreased in recent years, due to the expansion of imprisonment, improvements in technology, policing techniques, and many other factors.
But while they acknowledge a decrease in crime due in part to a large prison population, they also propose that the opposite response — shrinking the prison population and growing rehabilitative alternatives — may bring even better results for crime rates, public safety, recidivism rates, and the taxpayers’ dollars.
The article states, “In short, we must reserve our harshest and most expensive sanction — prison — for violent and career criminals while strengthening cost-effective alternatives for lower-level, nonviolent offenders.”
The authors back their position with a recent study from the Pew Charitable Trusts, showing that states that decreased their incarceration rates actually decreased their crime rates more than states that raised their incarceration rates.
Cuccinelli and Daniels invite readers to join them in supporting this change to our justice system: “Let’s resist our old incarceration reflex and support a rational system anchored in the knowledge, experience and values of today. Let’s preserve families, restore victims, help willing offenders turn their lives around and keep the public safe.”
At Prison Fellowship Ministries, our hope is to see prisoners restored to their families, communities, and their Heavenly Father. Justice Fellowship has been advocating for the Smarter Sentencing Act, which “will advance more effective and proportionate criminal sentencing for non-violent drug offenses.” To see how you can support this reform and others, please visit justicefellowship.org.