Prison reform must start with facts, not perception

Published: Monday, Dec. 23, 2013 - 4:10 pm

Re "Sentence-reform panel faces long odds" (Page A1, Dec. 23): California has a very dysfunctional correctional system. Changing sentences without an analysis of the correctional system would probably screw it up even more, if that's possible. Obviously, any change in sentencing should be based on fact, rather than perceptions. Instead of proposing a sentencing commission, legislators should fund an independent analysis of the correctional system. The last analysis of the total system was conducted in 1970. If recommendations of that report had been followed, billions of dollars would have been saved and there would be no fight with the Supreme Court over prison overcrowding. The real overcrowding problem is at the county jail level, rather than state prison. Taxpayers deserve a rational plan for a correctional system that costs them more than $15 billion annually.

-- Rich McKone, Lincoln

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