PA Lawmakers Aim for Prison Reform

HARRISBURG – Rep. Ron Waters, D-Philadelphia, has sponsored a bill he says will help to alleviate prison overcrowding in Pennsylvania state prisons.

Today lawmakers rallied around a measure that would send drug abusers to rehabilitation centers instead of state prisons. The bill also calls for reformed transitions of prisoners back into public life, and aims to engage the inmates upon release, with such things as voter registration.

Pennsylvania’s prison population has risen drastically in previous years, and the burden of expense is being felt everywhere.

In 1971 there were about 5,200 state prisoners. Today that number is more than 51,000. The cost to maintain these prisoners has risen from $33 million a year in 1971 to a whopping $1.87 billion last year.

The United States currently imprisons more people than any other country in the world. The US only has about 5% of the world’s population, yet holds nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners.

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