Missouri judges now have more to consider when they sentence a criminal: the cost of the punishment.
This interesting article by Monica Davey of the New York Times discusses a controversial new rule in the Show Me State.
Supporters say it’s another tool for judges to more effectively weigh punishments. Critics claim there is no way to put a price tag on the cost of crime, particularly those it harms.
For someone convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, for instance, a judge might now learn that a three-year prison sentence would run more than $37,000 while probation would cost $6,770. A second-degree robber, a judge could be told, would carry a price tag of less than $9,000 for five years of intensive probation, but more than $50,000 for a comparable prison sentence and parole afterward. The bill for a murderer’s 30-year prison term: $504,690.
It’s an interesting approach and seems particularly up for discussion in a state that has the highest female incarceration rate in the country. Not to mention a state corrections department struggling to make things work on a severely trimmed budget.
Read the story here and share your thoughts.