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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Do the time

Most people are shocked when they first discover that inmates don't really serve the sentences they are given. Because of the "good time" credits they earn and other incentives, even violent felons can get out in less than half the time they are sentenced to. So this seems like a good idea:

State prison inmates would be required to serve 85 percent of their sentences under legislation the House approved Monday night.

The provision by Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Howe, was added as an amendment to a bill that would prohibit inmates from receiving early release credits for earning both a GED and a high school diploma while in prison. The amendment was approved 62-32, and the overall bill is now eligible for a vote in the House. If approved by a Wednesday midnight deadline for bills to clear their house of origin, it would be sent to the Senate.

It might be useful to keep some mechanism with which the less-violent offenders can earn early release. But I don't see what major objection there'd be to making violent felons serve 85 percent of their time, except, maybe, Win Moses' point that it might cost a lot more than we realize.


Bob G.
Wed, 01/30/2008 - 11:51am

It's costing us a lot more already...no matter HOW we view this.

And don't believe for a minute that white-collar criminals in minimum security "resorts" aren't costing anyone anything.
They are.

The real dilemma comes from making crime (& punishment) so distasteful that people will refrain from committing it.

And that just won't happen anytime soon, sadly.


Wed, 01/30/2008 - 11:52am

I thought you were against tax increases and expanded government. Or was there some other way to essentially double jail infrastructure and operating costs?

Wed, 01/30/2008 - 11:56am

Maybe I'm wrong, but I just have a hard time believing that many of these folks make anything like a rational calculus saying, "it's worth risking 6 years, but no way would I risk 12."

I don't know what the exact time level is -- but beyond a certain point, people aren't really considering the penalty. I can see maybe shrugging your shoulders at 90 days or 6 months. But anything over 5 years in jail seems to me like it might as well be forever. But, maybe that's just me.