2006 was a record year in terms of known lawbreakers. Two million offenders were either in jail or prison, 4.2 million were on probation, and nearly 800,000 were on parole. for a total of 7.2 million people in the American criminal justice system.
The cost to taxpayers, about $45 billion, is causing states such as California to reconsider harsh criminal penalties. In an attempt to relieve overcrowding, California is now exporting some of its 170,000 inmates to privately run corrections facilities as far away as Tennessee.
"There are a number of states that have talked about an early release of prisoners deemed non-threatening," said Rebecca Blank, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, a centrist think tank. "The problem just keeps getting bigger and bigger. You’re paying a lot of money here. You have to ask if some of these high mandatory minimum sentences make sense."
Meanwhile in Ohio, Joseph Groth has been sentenced to eight years in prison for attempted murder and felonious assault after he stabbed his wife multiple times, hospitalizing her for over a month. Groth was paroled in 1983 after serving one year for the killing of his first wife, Eva, in 1981.