OK Should Stop Wasting Money on Prisons: Tulsa World

State fails to rehabilitate those who have committed minor crimes, so they commit new offenses and return to prison, says the Tulsa World, concluding, “We are not safer as a result, just poorer.”

The Oklahoma Board of Corrections’ request for a $1.53 billion annual appropriation, including $813 million for two new medium-security prisons, is “all wasted money — although absolutely necessary given the state’s justice policies,” the Tulsa World editorializes. The newspaper calls the large request “a symptom of the systematic failure of state government, and the costs will only go up every year that we don’t start thinking differently.”

In the newspaper’s view, Oklahoma fails to educate many inmates or give enough of them work skills. It fails to treat the mentally ill or help drug addicts break their habits. The state tends to warehouse defendants who have committed petty crimes by the thousands in rusting old prisons, guarded by overworked, understaffed guards. “We offer the inmates no help for their underlying problems, so they return to the streets to commit more crimes, which sends them back to prison,” says the World. “We are not safer as a result, just poorer.” The newspaper concludes, “We should be saving prison space for the dangerous people who we should genuinely fear and helping the others straighten out their lives.”

from https://thecrimereport.org