Sunday, December 05, 2004

Pay-As-You-Go Prisons?

Here's a thought regarding criminal penalty enhancements: Perhaps there should be a requirement that every time a Texas legislator proposes some outrageously lengthy new criminal penalty, they must identify in the same bill which class of prisoners should be released in order to free up the space. Sort of a pay-as-you-go incarceration system.

Think parents who are home meth cooks deserve 15 years minimum? The bill author should be required to identify, say, burglars, drunk drivers, or some other offender class for which penalties will be lowered to offset the increase. There are 1,941 separate acts which have been declared felonies in Texas, so legislators would have a wide array of choices to pick from. Since the prisons are chock full and we can't afford to build a new one, seems like that'd make a lot of sense.

No comments: