SALEM, Ore. — Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed a bill he hopes will curb the state’s prison population. Kitzhaber signed the measure during a ceremony in his office Thursday, flanked by district attorneys and sheriffs. Among other things, the measure reduces sentences for certain drug and property crimes and driving with a suspended license. It’s projected to keep the prison population flat for about five years. Kitzhaber sought to limit prison growth for a decade, but he made concessions to win support from the law-enforcement community.- Associated Press
Lane Solutions Responds…
Congrats to Guv Kitzhaber for finding the golden key to cutting costs. Want to save money on prisons? Presto – Cut the punishment for crimes. Maybe we can save money on the Oregon Highway Patrol by raising the speed limit to 95 MPH. Save hospital costs by treating all strokes and heart attacks as outpatient cases?
Here’s what we won’t do to save money on prisons: Ask why, of the 14 states with populations of 2 to 5 million, 10 spend less per inmate than Oregon and 9 of those are right-to-work states. 3 of the 4 that spend more are, like Oregon, forced-union states.
Nor will we ask why Oregon entry level correctional officials pocket 24% more annual take home pay than nearby states’ officials.
Heaven forbid that we ask why, in the Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office study of Oregon and 11 surrounding states, Oregon was the only state in the sample which paid the entire employee contributions to the retirement plan and health insurance premiums.
We conclude that it’s just easier to turn criminals loose on Oregonians than rein in unions.