Jail not always the answer - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

WLOX Editorial

Jail not always the answer

Earlier this month, WLOX News aired a special report about the explosion in the number of women being sent to prison. In the past 20 years, the number of female inmates in the U.S. has grown by 757%.

Twenty years ago about 11,000 women were behind bars. The number now stands at more than 100,000. Here's what's shocking about those figures. The vast majority of women are not incarcerated for violent acts, like murder, assault and armed robbery. They are locked up because they were addicted to drugs. Using, dealing or stealing landed them behind bars.

In our report, many of the women said jail was the best thing to happen to them because they are getting straight. That leads us to this question. Why jail thousands of drug addicted women at a cost of thousands of dollars each year to the taxpayers? There has got to be a better way.

Here are a few suggestions: house arrest and work release. More and better treatment centers to help these women get their lives back. Surely the cost for treatment is less than incarceration. And, if you think that position is too lenient, here's the counter argument. By giving these women a second chance, we also say don't waste this opportunity.

Unlike baseball, in this case, it's one strike and you're out. Mess up just once, and it's back to jail you go.

That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to editorials@wlox.com, or post your comments below.

David Vincent
WLOX-TV General Manager

©2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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