Our country has managed to make it to the top of the list when we count nations with the greatest rates of incarceration amongst its population and of course, because of the same trend, the taxpayers are paying colossal sums of money to keep the crooks off the streets. We have finally realized that we should be working towards reducing the cost that the country incurs for the maintenance of its prison population, and we have already tried and tested the option of reducing the spending of the food, and the recreation of the prisoners and the option has not worked very well thus far. The second obvious choice would be to reduce the number of people who are overcrowding the state prisons, and that is a strategy which has to start with the freeing of the segment of that population which poses the least harm.
There are still people who worry that releasing people prior to the completion of their sentence may lead to increased criminal activity in the country and for this reason, many of us hold reservations towards making that bold move. So we continue to debate whether prisoners should be released early based on good behavior and our stance in this argument is towards the yes. We believe that the prisoners should be released early on good behavior and should also be provided with parole in the event that they have maintained an acceptably decent behavior through their prison sentence.
There are more than a few reasons why we support this particular stance, and first of those is that this move is in most cases seen to reduce rather than increase the rates of crime out on the streets. There are many who use the early release from prison as the opportunity to start fresh and do better with the time that is given to them. One of these prisoners is Michael Keating, who was serving an 11-year-old sentence for methamphetamine production which was released a few months earlier than he was scheduled to be.
The Commission and the Justice Department also announce that there is no significant link in between the prison sentences of longer periods and the possibility of the inmates circling back to a life of crime. Rather, we could say that the evidence points the other way upon the revelation that when the sentences for prisoners serving for crack cocaine were reduced in the year 2007, a study on the same revealed that the prisoners released early had a slightly lower likelihood of recidivism comparing to the rest of the federal inmates. This study enlightens us to very optimistic results in the event that we decide to have a few of the well-behaved prisoners freed sooner than we had earlier planned.
The second very important reason which is also the reason why we got to thinking about the possibility in the first place is the incentive to cuts costs that the government expands on the federal and state prison populations. The United States government spends close to 80 billion dollars per year on the criminal justice system and the estimated expense to imprison one person for a whole year falls at around $30,000. Rewarding these prisoners by reducing the time that they spend in jail could reduce these prison costs for us in two key ways. First, these prisoners behave better when they have the incentive of early release or that of parole to look forward to. Secondly, when these prisoners serve for less time, the associated funds could be cut down on and diverted elsewhere.
Since we are on a quest to free our prisons of the extra people so that we could reduce the cost that the taxpayers have to contribute, it would only make sense to start the de-crowding of the prisoners from the inmates who have exhibited acceptable behavior through the course of their sentence and this is one more reason which supports our stance of freeing the prisoners early or on parole when they can prove to be civil with other inmates.
Over and above that, a Stanford expert also claims that releasing these prisoners early could provide an overall advantage to the society in addition to taking care of the problem of overcrowding. He even goes further to say that since it is even more difficult to behave well through the time in prison; a prisoner who succeeds at good behavior cannot contribute to crime when he/she finally gets out early.
Ever since his early release from prison, Mr. Keating has been living a life of his dream, working a job and being able to visit his family on the weekends and he is thankful for the months that he was supposed to spend in prison but didn’t. His gratefulness may very well encourage him to do better for a country which provided him with the freedom he had no idea he might get, much like thousands of other prisoners who are granted early release. If these grateful prisoners integrate themselves back into the society again, it is hard to imagine the world where they would once again choose a life of crime over that of an honest living and tranquility. These are all factors which are worth getting through our fears for. We never know; they might surprise us.
Augliere, Bethany. Rewarding good behavior of prisoners is a benefit to society, Stanford expert says. 06 October 2015. <https://news.stanford.edu/2015/10/06/prisoners-early-release-101615/>.
Eckholm, Eric. Thousands Start Life Anew With Early Prison Releases. 01 November 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/02/us/with-early-release-thousands-of-inmates-are-adjusting-to-freedom.html?_r=0>.