As Jeremy noted several weeks back, Michigan is currently sinking one-fifth of the entire state budget — $1.9 billion per year — into maintaining our 51,000 prisoners and 75,000 parolees and ex-cons on probation. Furthermore, because we are in a budget crisis, the state has found itself in the patently absurd position of having to parole violent criminals early while continuing to incarcerate non-violent drug offenders who must serve their entire federally mandated “mandatory minimum” sentence (setting aside the fact that 30+ years of mandatory minimum sentencing have done nothing to halt drug abuse or drug related crimes in the state.)

In a fall slap in the face of reason:

we are spending roughly three times as much on each person who has been convicted of a crime as we are on each of the students who are, hopefully, Michigan’s future.

(Thank Jack Lessenberry for pointing this out — and check out the entire essay,because its a sharp read on our prison conundrum.)

Thankfully, it seems that we’re on the cusp of making some rational and realistic changes in how we’re doing things in this state:

Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants to begin commuting sentences of inmates who pose no safety threat to the public as part of an effort to reduce the state’s prison population.

The Governor is right: Prisons are for locking up dangerous animals who cannot safely interact with their fellow human beings. Right now we are blowing more than $15,000 a year per person — i.e. one year’s tuition at one of our state colleges — in order to keep pot heads from getting chubby and leaching off their parents. Bravo to the Gov. for taking the risk of seeming “soft on crime” in order to stop irrationally flushing my tax dollars down the toilet.

Commute Dr. Death‘s sentence! Let all the pot heads and rave tweakers out! If Jack Kevorkian and some stoners sneak up on me in a dark alley, I’m pretty sure I can take care of myself.

Dave-o is a frequent contributor to the Hugs video-cast. He unabashedly supports Poor Mojo’s Newswire, a blog of merit since 1905 — now available electronically!

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