PA Lacks Criminal Justice Policy, Contends Corrections Secretary Wetzel


Fix inefficiencies in Pennsylvania’s corrections department that keep prisoners behind bars for months after they've been paroled and that cost taxpayers millions every year. Fix Community Corrections Centers that have been shown to make the inmates who go through them more likely to commit another crime. Start evaluating criminals' risk of reoffending before the judge passes sentence to make sure the right punishments are applied to the right people.

Support problem-solving courts such as drug court, mental health court and veterans' courts that have been proved to reduce crime without sending people to prison. Do it all soon. Those are among to deal with Pennsylvania's prison crisis offered yesterday by ex-Gov. George Leader and a bipartisan coalition led by the Commonwealth Foundation, reports the Harrisburg Patriot-News. The prison system costs taxpayers nearly $2 billion a year, with less than stellar results. “You can't call what we have today criminal justice policy because 'policy' assumes a conscious decision has been made, and we haven't,” said Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. Support for the agenda comes from an unlikely collection of interests including the conservative Pennsylvania Family Institute, the generally liberal Prison Society, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, and others.

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