A House bill that would release non-violent offenders at half term, provided they are over 45, have no violent record, and haven’t made any violations while serving time, was passed on to committee for further review. H.R. 223 Federal Prison Bureau Nonviolent Offender Relief Act of 2011. The last four Congresses initiated similar legislation, only to become dead bills.
In Pennsylvania, non-violent offenders re being released to the savings of $350 million.
According to a recent article in The Bay Citizen, “In raw numbers, spending on both corrections and higher education has increased since the 1980s. In fiscal year 1979, the state spent about $1.9 billion on higher education, while the corrections budget totaled $625.4 million. This year, the UC and CSU systems are receiving $5.7 billion, while prisons account for $9.6 billion in state spending.” September 09, 2011
A startling and disturbing report from the Justice Policy Institute on the lobbying efforts by the private prison Industry to promote policies that lead to “higher rates of incarceration and thus greater profit margins for their company.” According to the report, they use campaign contributions, lobbying relationships and associations with the goal to increase prison populations and gain more revenue. Texas and Florida have the largest prison population. June 24, 2011