The problem with prisons

John Ivison refers to the writings of Newt Gingrich to find fault with the government’s prison expansion.

The “hanging’s too good for them” brigade should read an eye-opening piece from last Friday’s Washington Post, co-written by Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, and Pat Nolan, former Republican leader of the California State Assembly. They pointed out that the U.S. currently spends US$68-billion on corrections — 300% more than 25 years ago — and the prison population is growing at 13 times faster than the general population.

“Our prisons might be worth the current cost if the recidivism rate were not so high but, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, half of the prisoners released this year are expected to be back in prison within three years. If your prison policies are failing half the time, and we know there are more humane, effective alternatives, it is time to fundamentally rethink how we treat and rehabilitate our prisoners,” they concluded.

Conrad Black is equally unimpressed.

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