Re "Brown must get real on prison crowding" (Editorials, Oct. 17): The problem has always has been a jail bed shortage, not a prison bed shortage. The jail shortage was more than 65,000 beds in 2006. The U.S. Supreme Court order probably adds about 32,000 beds to that shortage.
The decision to place low-level offenders in prison rather than deal with the jail shortage caused prison overcrowding, increased the violation rate and added billions to prison operating costs. Before dealing with any correctional system problems, the state obviously should examine the total correctional system and develop long-range bed projections.
With a legitimate framework of data, sentencing and a myriad of other correctional issues and strategies could easily be examined. Prior to expanding the prison system in the 1980s, there was fierce legislative debate about prison bed projections and other correctional issues. That same debate should take place before making any decisions about current correctional issues.
-- Rich McKone, Lincoln