Survey: Crime survivors say less prison time, more rehab programs

Survey: 60% of crime survivors support less prison time and more rehab
Published: Aug. 4, 2016 at 8:27 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2016 at 12:04 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Debate over punishment for those who commit crimes heats up. A new national survey was just released, regarding what crime victims think about justice and safety.

The Alliance for Safety and Justice interviewed 800 crime survivors across the country, victims of non-violent and violent crimes. One of the people interviewed is a woman from Cleveland.  Here's a look at the findings.

  • 60% said they supported shorter prison sentences and more spending on prevention and rehabilitation
  • 2 to 1 margin, victims would prefer the criminal justice system focus more on rehabilitation than punishment
  • 3 to 1 margin, crime victims believe that time in prison makes people more likely to commit another crime rather than less likely

"We found by wide margins and across demographic groups, the majority of crime victims want a criminal justice system that emphasizes rehabilitation over punishment," said Lenore Anderson, President of The Alliance for Safety and Justice. She added that, "programs for at risk youth, mental health treatment, drug treatment, rehabilitation, the kinds of things that lead to smarter justice."

Ohio has the 6th largest state prison population in the country, with close to 52,000 people currently locked up.  Texas, by the way, has the largest.  According to ASJ, corrections spending increased in Ohio by 162% from 1985 to 2014, that's 13-times more than spending increased in education.

"Two things actually come up when I talk with crime victims. One, they want things that happened to them, not to happen to them again, and they don't want it to happen to anyone else. So if you think about policy, it's all about prevention," said Robert Rooks, Vice President of The Alliance for Safety and Justice.

The survey also found that crime victims face significant challenges in recovery. Eight in 10 report experiencing at least one symptom of trauma. And the majority did not receive help following the incident.

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