Prison costs are bound to fall following attorney general’s action on nonviolent drug traffickers

03/14/2014 9:51 AM

03/15/2014 5:37 PM

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is known for doing controversial things. His endorsing a proposal Thursday that would lead to shorter prison sentences for many convicted nonviolent drug offenders is one of them.

But it is the right thing to do. Federal and state prisons are overflowing with people who have been incarcerated on drug convictions.

Holder’s action should help pull down the cost of locking people up. States like Missouri and Kansas spend millions of dollars a year to house people in prisons. Taking such offenders through strictly enforced rehabilitation and community service is the better way to go.

In addition to the cost of incarceration and building more prisons to house men and women, society also pays in the loss of people who otherwise would be employed, earning a living and contributing to their families’ and community’s well-being. Reversing the more than 30-year trend of locking people up in the so-called war on drugs is a good thing overall.

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