Aggressively Protecting Your Rights

Harsh penalties lead to overflowing prison populations

| Oct 27, 2015 | Drunk Driving

Minnesota is struggling with a growing prison population, but what’s the cause? According to a report from Oct. 22, the growth in the prisons is directly linked to the state’s harsh penalties for drunk driving and drug use or sales. Should you have to face time behind bars for drunk driving alone? It’s something your attorney should help you with, so you can try to avoid being in prisons that are already overflowing.

Minnesota is currently facing a crisis thanks to the prisons being over capacity. This has been fueled by legislation that intended to make drunk driving a felony-level conviction, for one thing. The felony-level DWI charge is linked to the use of 683 beds in prison cells around the state. Penalties that were increased to include assault, stalking and other dangerous violations increased the need for space, taking up another 411 beds.

How much has the prison population grown? It’s reported that between 2000 and 2013, the population in prison grew from 6,200 to 9,450. That is a 42-percent increase over that time period. Penalty enhancements are widely to blame, and they’re taking up a shocking 3,000 beds in prison cells.

As far as imprisonment goes, Minnesota has one of the lowest populations in the United States, but that’s starting to waiver. The state has fallen out of the top-three lowest for imprisonment, and it’s starting to see issues with the increased penalty enhancements. Prison cutbacks have also resulted in a drop in available beds, making them less available than before and causing an overflow problem that will cost millions to fix.

Source: MinnPost, “Minnesota’s prison overpopulation problem tied to harsher penalties for drunk driving, drugs,” Andy Mannix, Oct. 22, 2015