Our criminal justice system is currently based on the idea of retribution. We seek to punish those who have committed crimes instead of dealing with the root issues that put people into positions where they make bad decisions. A better approach, one that would both reduce recidivism and overall spending, would be to overhaul the criminal justice system to focus on rehabilitation and reintegration into the community. This will require both short and long term changes to the way we think about justice and to how we think about spending money to address the problem. According to the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, “Massachusetts spends approximately $50,000 per year to house each inmate, and, on average, inmates serve a term of roughly one year.” That’s about 2.5 years of in-state tuition and fees at UMass Amherst. Many inmates serve time due to the mandatory minimums that exist for nonviolent drug crimes. Eliminating mandatory minimums and focusing instead on getting these individuals treatment would actually save the Commonwealth money. Over the coming months, Colin will post more ideas on how reforming the criminal justice system won’t just be good for society by reducing crime, but will save the taxpayers money in the long run.