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Early Prison Release to Reduce a Prison’s Budget

The system of justice involves a variety of important institutions and regulations. Imprisonment is the final stage of a criminal’s deeds’ investigation and punishment. However, merely putting a person behind bars does not lead to the automatic eradication of all problems. Just punishment for those individuals who have broken the law seems a fair solution for society, whereas it imposes a serious financial challenge for the federal and local government. Keeping inmates in prisons is a costly matter, and legislators are constantly looking for ways of decreasing expenditures. One of the most viable solutions is using early prison release to reduce prisons’ budgets. Although early release may seem unfair to plaintiffs, it seems reasonable that under certain circumstances, this option should be selected as an effective measure against excessive expenses.

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Undoubtedly, the core goal of the system of punishment is making the criminal compensate for law-breaking and causing harm to individuals or the state. In this respect, imprisonment is the most viable solution since depriving people of freedom is probably the most likely measure to teach criminals to value it upon release and not to break the law again. Evidently, many inmates do not understand this and continue to break the law upon being released. However, there are many individuals who sincerely regret their wrongdoing and whose behavior indicates that they could be released earlier. In each case, the prison administration should take serious consideration of all obstacles of the crime, the inmate’s conduct, and the benefit-limitation ratio in case such an individual should be released prematurely.

The reduction of the prison population as a budget reducing strategy seems a rather effective approach. Different states in the USA have their own opinions regarding the issue. Texas administration, for instance, believes that the reduction of the prison population can serve as a solution to excessive budget spending (Orrick & Vieraitis, 2015). Three approaches are suggested to gain prison population reduction: eliminating the time one should serve in prison, limiting the use of prison for probation or parole violators, and decriminalizing minor crimes (Orrick & Vieraitis, 2015). In Oregon, many consider the preventative-rehabilitative approach to crime control as a viable response to excessive numbers of imprisoned individuals (Sundt et al., 2015). The economic crisis makes states consider the reduction of the prisoners’ number.

While emphasizing the financial merits of early-release programs, one cannot but think about possible adverse outcomes. Some negative consequences of early release for drug dealers or those convicted for property crimes can lead to increased numbers of illegal acts in these areas. However, it is the duty of the criminal justice system to approach the question thoroughly and thoughtfully. Lowering budget expenditures is a good idea, but it is unacceptable to put citizens’ safety and well-being under threat.

There are many pros and cons to early-release programs, but it seems reasonable that such policies should be considered and implemented if states’ administrations take all measures to gain the maximum advantage of the situation. The primary goal of releasing nonviolent offenders before their sentences are finished is cutting down on expenses. However, there are other advantages of such solutions, including the opportunity for criminals to compensate for their wrongdoing by leading a righteous life and working for the benefit of society. The utmost benefit of the suggested approach is that less of society’s money will be spent on keeping prisoners, and more of it will be allocated to local communities.


Orrick, E. A., & Vieraitis, L. M. (2015). The cost of incarceration in Texas: Estimating the benefits of reducing the prison population. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 40, 399-415. Web.

Sundt, J., Cullen, F. T., Thielo, A. J., & Jonson, C. L. (2015). Public willingness to downsize prisons: Implications from Oregon. Victims & Offenders, 10(4), 365-378. Web.

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