Misplaced Priorities tracks the steady shift of state funds away from education and toward the criminal justice system. Researchers have found that over-incarceration most often impacts vulnerable and minority populations, and that it destabilizes communities.And this is not just finger-pointing; it includes pointers on how to get out of this mess:
The report is part of the NAACP’s “Smart and Safe Campaign,” and offers a set of recommendations that will help policymakers in all 50 states downsize prison populations and shift the savings to education budgets.Short version:
“They don’t need prison. Sending them to rehab costs less.”That’s NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous on Morning Joe a week ago.
And talk about strange bedfellows, here’s NAACP’s president and Grover Norquist doing a press conference together.
“It’s time to stop being tough and stupid and be smart and safe.”He recommends reinvesting much of the saved money in education.
“A family can only afford to be rich and stupid for one generation, and we are way past that.”
—NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous
“Mass incaceration is cruel policy and a national disgrace, as is felony disenfranchisement.” —David GelbaumThat from a man who previously ” taken great pains to remain anonymous.”
“Just spending money on something and calling it crime prevention doesn’t make it so. You need to do a cost-benefit analysis of what works and what doesn’t work.” —Grover NorquistNorquist points out in the video that Texas did not build four prisons because it didn’t need them since it has started concentrating on rehabilitation. All while saving taxpayer dollars. He says he spoke in Florida recently and it was quite persuasive that Texas had gone first.
Mitch Kapor pointed out that reducing incarceration and investing in education isn’t altruistic; it grows our economy and makes us more competitive.
If Texas can rehabilitate and reduce outgo while becoming more competitive, maybe Georgia doesn’t need to pay CCA to build more private prisons in Lowndes or Decatur Counties, and could invest in rehabilitation and education instead.
Here’s the report (in PDF).