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Monday, February 13, 2006

The cost of crime prevention

The Pioneer Press has an article on the rising costs of keeping sex offenders from harming more victims. The state is getting tougher on these people, but along with the toughness comes the need for more money. Budgeting is a matter of priorities, so what can you do?

I don't think anybody is arguing that we need to do less to keep dangerous sex offenders off the streets. So the discussion starts with the assumption that costs are going to increase. So where will the money come from? Increased taxes (the article mentions that the average Minnesotan pays $34 a year in taxes to keep sex offenders behind bars)? Less spending on other criminals? Less spending elsewhere in the budget? We need this discussion; saying that the money will come from "somewhere" is not terribly responsible.

Personally, I think that we should find less expensive alternatives to incarceration for non-violent drug offenders. The money saved would then be used for protecting the public from those criminals that we need to fear. I really don't care about the person busted for possession of marijuana, but I do care about the sex offender in my neighborhood.

2 Comments:

At 9:48 PM, February 13, 2006, Anonymous Reggie said...

It's politically unpopular to talk about, but sex offenders actually have a far lower rate of recidivism than other criminals. The alternative to longer sentences so far has been civil committment, which is unconstitutional in my book. Plus the definition of "sex offender" includes, for example an 18 year old who had consensual sex with a 16 year old, or a drunk college kid who streaked a sporting event.
So I don't think it's such a black and white issue.

 
At 10:44 PM, February 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smoking marijuana makes you BECOME a sex fiend! Haven't you seen Reefer Madness??

 

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