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Breaking the cycle of criminality: Rethinking state jail sentences
By kens5.com - Maurice Chammah
Published: 12/04/2012

A new report argues that state jails aren't meeting their goal of helping to reduce crime by intensively treating short-term, nonviolent inmates, and it recommends that judges no longer be able to sentence felons to state jails without a rehabilitation plan.

The report, published Monday by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, says that those convicted of nonviolent felonies and normally sentenced to months in a state-operated jail should instead be released with community supervision. That can include treatment programs, community service, strictly enforced probation conditions and the threat of incarceration if certain conditions are violated. The report's suggestions were based on recent data concerning the number of felons who commit crimes after being released from state jails.

Jeanette Moll, who authored the report, said that the people who commit these crimes, which are normally financial or drug-related, are seldom dangerous and don't need to be automatically incarcerated. “They have a job, they have a family, they have a community,” she said. “Putting them in a state jail is going to make them lose all of that.”

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