To the editor,

Why does someone use drugs, steal, lie, violently act out? Studies show these and other transgressions are caused by shame, isolation, exposure to violence and unmet economic needs - personifying our prison system; ultimately perpetuating the cycle. We must invest in better community services; treat the root causes and stop using incarceration as a solution!

Taxpayers pay $41,500/person incarcerated - more than spent on education

Some perspective: 17% are drug offenses. Releasing this small subset results in savings of $60M. Expand that to probation/parole violators (missing curfew, missing a call/meeting or inability to find a job under supervision), accounting for 34% of 2020 new commits, and the savings are astounding. Reinvest these savings into our communities for solution-focused public services.. 

The time to act is NOW! We must hold ourselves/leaders accountable to the state of our society and change the focus to one of healing instead of harm. 

During this pandemic, prisons have transformed into petri dishes. We could save lives, better control the spread and start building community solutions through immediate reinvestment by releasing high-risk offenders.

Fact: MN released < 300 people

Fact: WI released 1,600 people, majority probation/parole violators (MN remanded 1,900 violators back to prison)

I am disgusted by our “injustice” system. I am saddened by our government’s view of people as monetary pawns? Am I the only one?

I’m encouraging everyone to VOTE! Think about these facts when casting your ballot. Vote for candidates that honor humanity, put the good of our people and communities first. 

Sarah Bishop

North Branch

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