We want to sentence smarter, not just tougher. If we can provide useful and effective alternatives without too costly incarceration, we all benefit.
Reforming corrections is also a job of communities, not just the state. In New York there are several communities that provide housing and life services for women released early from prison so they can begin their reintegration into society.
In Arizona a program for nonviolent felons, modeled after one in New York, is linked to the offender's ability to pay.
Prisons always hold a role in the criminal justice system, but they cannot play the central role as they have in the past.
The judiciary, executive and legislative branches must have reasonable expectations, pilot programs, evaluations and ongoing communications. In this extensive approach, we can save millions of dollars and be proud of efforts that slash crime.
We cannot build our way out of the current prison crisis. We can manage and control our prison growth and maintain the integrity in the criminal justice system. By carefully developing sensible policies and a wide range of sanctions in implementing an aggressive public education initiative, we can have offenders accountable to the public and the legal system.
As well, remember that all this is a human issue and not an institutional one. This is a people's perception of their personal safety and their hard-earned money. Consensus building is essential.
Mental health, education, safety and other items are on the list for legislative action, but constituents want more jobs than anything. The money by lowering the budget and placing appropriate revenues on the table will put us marching forward.
Holliday is former state senator from Fayette County who worked on correctional issues while in the Legislature.