How do you answer the question, how many people is the right amount to have in or send to prison?

That is the question that many these days are asking.  How do you attempt to answer that question?

Right now there are approximately 43,000 people in Michigan prisons, is that too little or to many?

A Michigan Capitol Confidential news article is attempting to answer that question.

The article first asks the question what is the “right number of people” to be imprisoned.  Well that number is based on your point of view when it comes to incarceration.  If we look at the extremes the number is zero to whatever the number of people who commit a crime punishable by prison time.  The correct number is obviously somewhere in-between.

For those of us who believe that not enough people who commit a crime are in prison they must tackle the question of cost.  There is a cost benefit equation to that number, if we imprison everyone who commits a crime punishable by imprisonment will the cost benefit to society warrant that. For those of us who believe too many people are imprisoned the question is how do we determine who should go to prison and who should not.  As the Michigan Capitol Confidential article asks, how do we scale back that number?  Also when we do scale back that number, how will that effect our society?

These are some thoughts and points of view that we must consider when asking the question, how large or small our prison population should be.

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