Anthony Barkow commends proposal to release some nonviolent prisoners early in Washington Post op-ed

In a Washington Post op-ed, Anthony Barkow, executive director of the Law School’s Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, writes that Virginia Governor Tom Kaine’s proposal to enlarge the period of early release from 30 days to 90 days for nonviolent offenders who have been model inmates is a sound way to help deal with the state’s budget crisis.

Virginia faces a nearly $3 billion shortfall this year, while the growth of the prison budget has dramatically outpaced other spending items in the last decade and consumes more than $1 billion a year.

“Virginia can’t blindly devote money to incarceration,” Barkow writes. “It needs to differentiate between those who deserve and need to remain in jail, such as violent offenders, and those who don’t, such as nonviolent offenders who pose no danger to society and who will serve or may have already served substantial prison time.”