A new article, in “Think Progress”, cites a host of authorites and experts who claIm that a burst of activity in the prison reform field, may signify a change of course in the criminal justice system. The article goes on to cite authorities such as the Wall Street Journal and the conservative website “Right on Crime” , as well as, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the progressive “Sentencing Project”. As a check on over-enthusiam, the Sentencing Project reminds us, “25 states still had stable or increasing [prison] population” (click on image on left for Sentencing Project’s “On the Chopping Block: State Prison Closings”)
The question I posed at the beginning of the year “A New Year’s Editorial: Has Penal Reform Peaked“, continues to concern me. The momentum for Prison And Sentencing Reform, that “Think Progress” reports, is good news that should not be discounted, but the question remains as to whether reform will be substantial and self-susutaining. It’s important to monitor the extent of existing and proposed reform and the quality of that reform.
It should be remembered that we have been here before, and if we do not provide resources, supervision, and assistance as needed, we may find ourselves in a worse place than when this reform process began.