It seems that no individual or institution is immune to the effects of the sluggish economy these days. Even Virginia prisons are looking for ways to save money, and they may have found one to make nonviolent offenders smile.
Leaders from the Virginia State Senate are working on a proposal to redesign state criminal sentencing policies which could result in releasing hundreds – even thousands – of nonviolent inmates early.
Some ideas being floated include allowing inmates to secure early release if they agree to home monitoring or if they successfully complete a drug treatment program. If the number of incarcerated nonviolent offenders could be reduced enough, Virginia would be able to close one or two prisons – a substantial savings.
While the move is risky from a political perspective – the idea of releasing a large number of offenders before their time is up rankles many citizens – it has the potential of saving the state tens of millions of dollars. That kind of savings is too good to ignore in this economic climate.
Some lawmakers believe that if citizens took the cost savings into consideration, they would be all for the proposed changes. After all, it costs the state about $25,000 to incarcerate a non-violent offender – wouldn’t the money be better spent on education or transportation?