Solving the US criminal justice problem.

PROBLEM: Imprisoning and/or killing criminals ethically ambiguous, insanely expensive and clearly not effective. Most crimes stem from either an innate or developed psychological issue.

SOLUTION: I propose we treat crime like a psychological disease, creating thousands of psychologist positions designed to diagnose and rehabilitate criminals. The treatments could include: medications, counseling, job and life skills remediation, and deep-brain stimulation for chronic depression or antisocial personality disorders).

HOW IT WORKS: We offer free/discounted tuition for veterans and others over the age of 45 to become psychologists. We attract people and incentivize successful counseling by paying them $60K + $1K for up to 4 years for every year the prisoner they council and release that is not re-arrested + $5K for every prisoner not re-arrested for 5 years. If their success rate falls below 30% for 2 consecutive years, they are terminated. The caseload should be between 5 and 10 prisoners, ensuring each prisoner is given at least 4hrs/wk face-2-face. Depending on their success and caseload, they could be making >$100K/yr after 6-10 years.

SAVES MONEY, MAKES JOBS: The average prisoner costs $20K/yr and is imprisoned on average 5 years = $100K (don’t forget most are repeat offenders who get increasing sentence times). The total bonus paid to the councilor is $9K/prisoner = >90% cost reduction. The base pay is $60K, equivalent to 3 prisoners. If the program is only 30% effective = no net cost after the 1st year and we incentivized success to improve and maintain success. There are ~2 million prisoners, so we would create tens of thousands of new jobs.

WHY 5 YEARS: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics
“Within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.
Of those prisoners who were rearrested, more than half (56.7 percent) were arrested by the end of the first year.”

It’s clear our current “justice” system is broken in many ways. Locking people in isolation or with other criminals, especially those who are victims themselves (innocent of the crime, childhood abuse/neglect, poor genetics… ), is no solution. Forgiveness and compassion, not blame and retribution, is the key to ending crime.