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PA: Philadephia’s New DA Wants Prosecutors To Talk Cost Of Incarceration While In Court

[npr.org]

Every day, judges around the country are deciding the fate of criminal defendants by trying to strike the right balance between public safety and fairness.

In Philadelphia, the new progressive district attorney has launched an experiment. He’s asking his prosecutors to raise another factor with judges: the cost of incarceration.

The move has ignited a debate about whether the pricetag of punishment belongs in courtrooms.

Do a little math:

“Fiscal responsibility is a justice issue, and it is an urgent justice issue,” Larry Krasner said at a press conference recently.

Krasner is a former civil rights lawyer who rode into office on a platform of radically revamping the city’s district attorney’s office by opposing the death penalty, stepping away from cash bail and seeking shorter prison sentences for offenders.

He sees asking prosecutors and judges to grapple with the cost of locking up a defendant as a stride toward fulfilling his promise of trying to fight mass incarceration.

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  1. AlexO

    Imagine if that was the case in California. I bet a few judges and others might do a double take before sending an RC away for a few years for non-criminal activity such as supporting their child in school, when the average cost of incarceration in California is now nearly $80k per year, per inmate.

    “You’re honor, it’s important to spend $80k-$250k of the tax payers money to send away this scum for daring to attend their child’s baseball game. We have to send a message that no cost is too great for technicalities and poor principles.”

    • norman

      yes, God bless the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, their influence, and always wanting to grow and provide good state jobs.

  2. TS

    I think this is Soros’ guy from the last election. Interesting thinking. Money is talked about here regarding registry costs and whether it’s worthy, so the same ought to be discussed regarding incarceration in court.

  3. ab

    Won’t happen for a long time, but if cost of incarceration was raised in federal court and all state courts that would be a tiny yet positive step.

  4. Eric Knight

    The problem with bringing up monetary costs for incarceration is that it does not factor into costs for damage that a legitimate conviction would prevent in subsequent crimes for NON-RSO’s. Remember, recidivism is much higher for non-registrant related crimes, which in many cases result in far more damage and destruction to innocent people’s lives.

    A better use of funds is to prevent such crime in the first place by promoting individual responsibility in the citizenry, which is the ultimate stay-out-of-jail method that mostly always work.

    Beware the methods here. Remember, once the state controls the criminality outside of Constitutional bounds, they can control the population outside of Constitutional bounds as as well. As sex offender registration laws are the canary in the mine to such acts, it would behoove the citizenry to beware of such emotional arguments in court.

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