Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 4:04 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (16)
  • Print

Editorial: Less money on crime means more money for education

Before adding a new crime or new criminal sentence, legislators should consider whether the money is better spent on education.

Seattle Times Editorial

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
how many big agribusines or small family farmers got the maxium penalty for hireing an... MORE
How about the State stops encouraging illegal aliens coming to the State via it's... MORE
Deport the 1,000 or so illegal (criminal aliens) out of country who are incarcerated! ... MORE

advertising

The Legislature, in a time of deep budget-cutting three years ago, raised the threshold for filing class B felony theft charges. The change received little press coverage, yet it dropped the state prison census by an estimated 385 inmates each year, saving millions of dollars a year, with no noticeable increase in crime.

It was a rare reversal from precedent.

Each session, lawmakers launch a blizzard of proposals to add new crimes and longer sentences, seemingly in a contest to be considered toughest on crime.

The Great Recession forced a great reset. Lawmakers largely stopped adding to the prison population.

The result: Crime rates remained at historic lows.

If the Legislature is to avoid building a new prison, the trend should continue.

If a lawmaker is arguing to establish a new crime, or a longer sentence, the case should be overwhelming. Otherwise, it is a drip-drip-drip addition to the budget, at a cost of $34,123.85 per inmate per year.

In contrast, the state pays $7,432 per year to educate Washington state students. Put the money where it counts.

Autos news and research

5 ways to ruin your engine

5 ways to ruin your engine


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►