Missouri has formed a new task force to improve the effectiveness of their criminal justice system while reducing costs to taxpayers. Specifically, the Missouri Working Group on Sentencing and Corrections is studying diversions from incarceration that avoid the high costs of residential treatment.

The group, which brings together Republicans and Democrats, and elected officials and state agencies, recognizes that there are certain segments of the adult offender population for whom incarceration is required. However, for lower risk offenders, such as first-time, non-violent offenders, there are alternatives to incarceration which are more effective and do not squeeze tight state budgets as much.

Right on Crime has long been an advocate for alternatives to incarceration. In Texas, for example, the introduction of probation as an alternative to incarceration has drastically reduced costs, crime, and recidivism. As the Missouri work group plans to propose legislative reforms in 2012, Right on Crime applauds their efforts and hopes that effective and efficient reform is the result.