By Jane H. Aiken

Incarceration rates in Missouri are 12 percent higher than the nation. We also spend 6.8 percent of our state budget on the cost of incarceration.

Currently there are over 30,000 men and women in Missouri’s prisons. Reducing that number would substantially reduce costs so we can better spend that money to support the thousands in the state who find themselves out of work, hungry and homeless.

Governors all over the nation are looking hard for ways to stop unnecessary, costly incarceration. Absent some kind of expansive legislative action, this cost-saving strategy rests solely in the hands of the governor. The concern, appropriately, is that if we release these prisoners, will they commit new crimes?

So how can we reduce the prison population, while at the same time, protect Missourians?

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