The Pew Center on the States just released polling data from across the United States in which 84 percent of respondents agreed that some tax dollars could be shifted from prisons to community corrections alternatives for non-violent, low-risk inmates.
This figure includes 77 percent of self-identified Republicans and 85 percent of Independents.
The poll also included findings on respondents who supported raising the felony threshold (the amount alleged stolen to trigger a felony charge). While most states have the threshold set at $500, 67 percent favored increasing it to $1,000, while 66 percent supported raising it to $1,500. The poll also showed support for shorter sentences coupled with post-release supervision by about a two-to-one margin.
And, in a significant display of inter-party agreement, 88 percent of Democrats, 87 percent of Independents, and 87 percent of Republicans agreed with this statement: “Prisons are a government program, and just like any other government program they need to be put to the cost-benefit test to make sure taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck.”
This polling data reveals broad support for many of the reforms Right on Crime has long researched and discussed: from alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders to supervision post-incarceration and increased oversight of how government spends taxpayer dollars. Americans understand that smart criminal justice reform can save millions while producing safer streets.