03/13/09 — Cut crime, too: Number of prisoners shocking peek at where society is heading

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Cut crime, too: Number of prisoners shocking peek at where society is heading

$68,000 -- in cheese? Not that surprising really that it would take that much money to provide cheese for all the inmates in North Carolina's 79 prisons.

But after you get get over the initial shock that you are paying for $68,000 in cheese -- just cheese -- and you are multiplying out how much you pay to provide cheeseburgers -- the realization hits.

There are 40,000 inmates in North Carolina prisons.

Shocking isn't it? And that does not even take into account the hundreds of thousands of others around the country or the people in the county jails in this state and across the U.S.

Seems like we ought to be doing something about changing that statistic, huh?

There are all kinds of theories about how to reduce the crimes committed -- stricter rules and tougher penalties, more education and opportunity for poverty-stricken youths, to name just two.

There is even more talk of putting more offenders on home arrest -- to get some of the minor criminals out of the expensive jail housing.

The reality is it is likely to get worse before it gets better. Society has trended toward less and less personal responsibility -- and more and more people who seem to be unaffected by punishment of any kind.

It is time to think again about ways to mitigate some of the continuing problems with crime. Tougher punishment perhaps -- or dealing with the root causes for people who decide breaking the law is preferable to obeying it. Either way, we need to find a way to put all that cheese money to better use.

Published in Editorials on March 13, 2009 10:43 AM