St. Louis Public Radio News
7:02 pm
Wed February 3, 2010

Chief Justice gives State of Judiciary

St. Louis, MO. – Missouri Chief Justice William Ray Price, Jr., says too many non-violent criminals are going to prison.

During his State of the Judiciary address to the General Assembly Wednesday, he said "tough on crime" laws have led to big expense but little reduction in crime.

Price says more than 41% of non-violent offenders who do time are back in prison within two years.

"The problem is that we're following a broken strategy of cramming inmates into prisons and not providing the type of training and drug treatment that is necessary to break their cycle of crime," Price said. "Any normal business would have abandoned this practice years ago, and it is costing us our shirts."

Price says appropriations to the state Department of Corrections have tripled in the last 15 years to $670 million Wednesday.

The chief justice also told lawmakers that the judiciary had willingly given funding back to the state during the economic crisis but could not sustain more cuts.