Pubdate: Thu, 27 Jan 2005
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Section: Spectrum, Page F1
Copyright: 2005 Madison Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Ernie Pellegrino
Bookmark: (Incarceration)

Prisons Eat Up Tax Dollars

Rehabilitation Failures Lead To Repeat Crimes: Is Public Truly Better 


A consultant hired to evaluate Sarasota, Fla.'s criminal justice system 
found that over the past six years, a group of 473 people accounted for 
9,343 arrests in the county. This was an average of 20 arrests per person, 
suggesting that the system is broken, particularly when you consider the 
number of crimes committed by the same individuals between arrests. To me, 
this means that unless something is done for or with this subset of 
individuals, there will be an unending upward spiral of crimes in our 

Many of these individuals are homeless and involved with drugs and alcohol. 
Some undoubtedly have varying degrees of mental and psychiatric problems 
that require specially trained supervision and/or expensive medications. We 
have not yet found a successful solution to wrap around these people, even 
though such organizations such as the Salvation Army and some faith-based 
organizations have made some inroads.

I think that concept of a team approach that involves the criminal justice 
system, i.e., police, public defenders, judges, jail and prison wardens, 
parole officers, combined with such groups as mentioned above could make a 
real difference if realistic goals are set in place.

Ernie Pellegrino

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