Treating a Symptom Rather than the Disease
The New York Times reports in an editorial this morning that the United States has more prisoners than any other country with reliable statistics. Their opinion?
“The key, as some states are learning, is getting smarter about distinguishing between violent criminals and dangerous repeat offenders, who need a prison cell, and low-risk offenders, who can be handled with effective community supervision, electronic monitoring and mandatory drug treatment programs, combines in some cases with shorter sentences.”
In my view, this is correct. Adding prisons and lengthening sentences instead of addressing underlying causes is like treating a symptom rather than the disease.
A comparison can be made to our battle in Iraq: As our generals recently declared, victory cannot be attained solely by military means; it requires significant political and economic reform.