Monitorizing Sentencing

Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 12:14 am
ST. LOUIS — When judges here sentence convicted criminals, a new and unusual variable is available for them to consider: what a given punishment will cost the State of Missouri.

For someone convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, for instance, a judge might now learn that a three-year prison sentence would run more than $37,000 while probation would cost $6,770. A second-degree robber, a judge could be told, would carry a price tag of less than $9,000 for five years of intensive probation, but more than $50,000 for a comparable prison sentence and parole afterward. The bill for a murderer’s 30-year prison term: $504,690.

Legal experts say no other state systematically provides such information to judges, a practice put into effect here last month by the state’s sentencing advisory commission, an appointed board that offers guidance on criminal sentencing.

The practice has touched off a sharp debate. It has been lauded nationally by a disparate group of defense lawyers and fiscal conservatives, who consider it an overdue tool that will force judges to ponder alternatives to prison more seriously.


What a great idea! And you know exactly what will happen, innovators will finally come in and produce programs to reform offenders better than jail, or all the other crappy programs that states have right now. Defense will say to the judge " you could send my client to jail for the standard term, but we think you should sent him to XYZ corp for their rehabilitative services, which use cutting edge reform techniques which have proven to be twice as effective as jail in recidivism studies, at 1/3 the cost to the state".

This could darn well put the states out of the criminal warehousing business!
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