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Criminal justice overload – no relief in sight

June 11, 2007

I just returned from a journalism conference in Phoenix, Ariz., where several local and federal law enforcement agents talked with us about crime.

What many of them said was scary to say the least. Despite the shortage of police officers nationwide they said there are more arrests taking place, and more people are being put behind bars. They believe the big problem that needs to be tackled immediately is the overcrowded court system.
There are not enough courtrooms, judges, prosecutors, and pre-trial services officers to handle the overwhelming case load. With the back-log, our jails are overcrowded, and most working in the criminal justice system are simply burned out. Mistakes are being made.
They told me sentencing is all over the place, and if a person is sent to prison many agents believe you can forget about effective rehabilitation.
There are not enough people to get the job done right. It “is” scary because statistics show that 67 percent of those discharged from prisons in America are re-offending. And with budget woes, and lack of much needed leadership in some areas, there is NO relief in sight.

Posted by Jeff McShan at June 11, 2007 11:36 PM

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