Six states that reduced incarceration rates by focusing on parole or probation instead of prison time have cut costs without increasing crime rates, according to an ACLU report released on Tuesday. The report highlights Texas, Mississippi, Kansas, South Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio as traditionally “tough-on-crime” states that benefited from reducing incarceration rates, reports Reuters.
Four more states — California, Louisiana, Maryland and Indiana — are in the midst of reform, said the report by the ACLU’s Center for Justice, an advocacy group that supports less-stringent penalties for nonviolent offenses. “The costs of using incarceration as an option of first — rather than last — resort far outweighs any benefit to public safety,” ACLU advocacy and policy counsel Inimai Chettiar said in a statement accompanying the report. State and federal governments spend about $70 billion annually on prisons and corrections, and state corrections spending has skyrocketed 674 percent over the last 25 years, according to the ACLU.