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MacIver Institute’s Brett Healy: Evidence clearly backs cutting incarceration hold

| June 30, 2014

Brett Healy, President of the MacIver Institute in Wisconsin, authored a letter to the editor of The Cap Times in response to Ken Cuccinelli and Deborah Daniels’ article “Less incarceration could lead to less crime.”

Dear Editor: Prison is unquestionably the proper place for violent and repeat offenders, and long sentences for such dangerous felons will always be worth their hefty cost.

But as Ken Cuccinelli and Deborah Daniels correctly argued in their recent piece, millions of lower level offenders can be effectively sanctioned in other ways — without compromising public safety.

Using research to guide their efforts, a growing list of states — from Texas and Georgia to Mississippi and South Dakota — have reformed their correctional and sentencing systems to expand the use of prison alternatives. Such reforms, adopted with overwhelming bipartisan support, are not only saving states money but also reducing recidivism, all while holding offenders accountable and keeping communities safe.

Those who question such a strategy should take note of this compelling fact, reported recently by the Pew Charitable Trusts: States that have cut their imprisonment rates have experienced a greater crime drop than those that increased incarceration.

It’s hard to quarrel with evidence like that.

Brett Healy

President, John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy


RIGHT ON CRIME is a national campaign to promote successful, conservative solutions on American criminal justice policy—reforming the system to ensure public safety, shrink government, and save taxpayers money. By sharing research and policy ideas and mobilizing strong conservative voices, we work to raise awareness of the growing support for effective reforms within the conservative movement. We are transforming the debate on criminal justice in America.