Governors Speak On Ways To Reduce Their Prison Populations


Several governors are calling for sentencing reforms in their “state of the state” addresses, Inimai Chettiar of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University write for the Huffington Post. New Jersey’s Chris Christie — formerly New Jersey’s chief federal law enforcement officer– called for an end to the state’s failed war on drugs and proposed mandated drug treatment and employment services for people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes. While New Jersey has already made progress in lowering the state’s prison population and recidivism rates, all while keeping crime down, Christie warned that “we can do better, and we must.”

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal encouraged keeping more low-level offenders out of prison. Delaware Governor Jack Markell emphasized that harsh penalties for the formerly incarcerated make it difficult for them to transition back into society, and California Governor Jerry Brown praised his state’s progress at reducing the prison population, while acknowledging that there is still work to be done. Chettiar touted a “success-oriented funding” model, urging states to “lay out clear goals for what taxpayer dollars should accomplish, then tie funding directly to achievement of those goals.”

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