Letting prisoners out early to save money is not the answer

With budgets stretched thin, several states are considering letting inmates out of prison early to save money. Even though they may be more likely to commit new crimes, politicians are saying the cost of those crimes is far less than the cost to keep the prisoners locked up.

One argument in favor of letting prisoners out early suggests that those in prison for things like "minor drug offenses" aren't a danger to society and should not have been locked up in the first place. That's a nice thing to say, but where's the proof that there are people in prison "only" for "minor" drug offenses?

Where I come from, you have to commit an awful lot of crimes to actually end up in prison. And that minor drug offense? The only way it's going to get you into prison here is if you've already got a double digit rap sheet. As a former probation officer, I can't tell you how many times I've seen judges try everything they could to avoid sentencing a criminal to prison.