Most of the time when we're urged to reduce prison sentences, we're earnestly told that a good chunk of the money we'd supposedly save will be "invested" in more careful and active supervised release. Probation, which is both cheaper and more humane than incarceration -- so the argument goes -- will be expanded to help insure we maintain public safety.
Did you think that's actually what sentencing "reformers" are planning?
Think again. A sample:
This Data Brief demonstrates for the first time that America suffers from "mass probation" in addition to "mass incarceration." Although probation has often been thought of as an "alternative" to prison or jail sentences, the U.S. has achieved exceptional levels of punitiveness in both incarceration and community supervision...
[S]tates should closely reexamine the numbers of people who are placed on probation each year, and the lengths of terms they are required to serve. Options for "early termination" of the lowest-risk and most successful probationers should be explored. Some experts in the field allege that probationary sentences do little to control crime, and frequently do more harm than good.
The plan is not to end "mass incarceration." The plan is to end punishment. For years, these people have been telling us that the criminal is the victim, and the problem is not crime, but Amerika's callousness and cruelty. It's time for us to understand they mean what they say.