Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Let's discuss a divisive new idea for our prison system

We have a staggering prison population here in the United States. In fact, we are the most incarcerating country in the world, and it's not even particularly close. One criminologist says that even if you released every person on a drug charge from prison, you would only put a 300,000-person dent in the prison population -- and the U.S. would still have the largest prison population in the world.

Whether you take a no-nonsense approach to crime or have a softer view on the issue, it seems pretty clear that we incarcerate too many people. This helps no one as these people who are locked up are basically unemployable when they get out of prison -- with few therapeutic or transitional programs to aid them -- which ultimately throws them right back into a life of crime just to get by. This doesn't make our world a safer place, and it certainly doesn't help the individual with a criminal history either.

This has spurred a revival in discussing how to fix our broken prison system, and one professor (along with his team) at UCLA has a radical idea: just let most of the prison population out.

Now of course it isn't that simple. The idea says that 80 percent of the prison population would be released before the end of their sentence -- but they would serve out the remainder of their sentence in a government-funded apartment that would monitor them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They would be given jobs to help them acclimate back in with society. They would still be considered prisoners, but with the ability to get back into society under heavy watch.

What do you think of this dramatically different idea? Could you see it working if it were ever implemented? Or would it's radical nature make it impossible to implement?

Source: Slate, "A Provocative New Plan to Reduce the Prison Population," Leon Neyfakh, March 26, 2015

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