FROM Michael Sullivan
Will Broken State Budgets Mean Prison Reform? In the past 20 years, state prison budgets have increased by 303 percent, outgrowing everything else except Medicaid. America's prison population is now much larger than China's, and five states spend more on corrections than higher education. But every state is now faced with the worst financial crisis in decades, and that's leading to cuts that only recently were considered off limits. The Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Center on the States funded a recent report on the fiscal crisis in corrections.
Will Broken State Budgets Mean Prison Reform? The United States has more people in prison than anyplace in the world. China's a distant second. After 20 years of tough-on-crime legislation, state prison budgets have increased by 303 percent, outgrowing everything else except Medicaid. Five states spend more on corrections than higher education. But the crackdown is costing more than states can afford. The total shortfall is $100 billion, and even some hard-core conservatives support reforms in sentencing, parole and probation. Recent evidence shows that less expensive alternative punishments can work. But it's also true that imprisonment keeps criminals off the street. Will the financial crisis produce real reform or temporary savings that risk public safety?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.