HARRISBURG (KDKA) – With the incarceration rate in Pennsylvania higher than the national average, the state’s auditor general says continuing to reform the state’s criminal justice system could save millions of taxpayer dollars and make society safer.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale held a news conference Tuesday morning about the steps that need to be taken to help non-violent offenders leaving the system. He said it would be beneficial to get rid of cash bail, offer mental health programs and boost workforce training.READ MORE: New Plaza At Hazelwood Green Set To Open With Public Celebration
He says about $101 million of the $2.6 billion the state Department of Corrections spent in 2018-19 went to incarcerate people who technically violated their probation.
The U.S. incarceration rate is the world's highest, w/ 700 out of every 100,000 residents behind bars. PA's rate is even higher: 725 per 100,000.
— Auditor General Eugene DePasquale (@PAAuditorGen) June 9, 2020READ MORE: Lane Restrictions, Detour In Effect For The Weekend On I-376 In Moon Township
DePasquale also says it’s important for defenders to have good lawyers to represent them.
“People who don’t have quality representation and end up incarcerated because they didn’t have a good lawyer — that is not only poor execution of justice but it also ends up saving the cost of taxpayers money,” DePasquale said.
DePasquale notes that all of this data and information from experts was conducted before last weeks events.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Dropping Temperatures, Rain Chances
He also says what’s happening now in Pennsylvania shows even more the need for new criminal justice reform.