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Resource ID: #17178
Subject: Prisons
Source: Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)
Date: 2000-03-05



The Virginian-Pilot investigates the Viriginia prison boom. "The series traced a costly prison-building boom that Virigina undertook in the mid-1990s, diverting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars from other pressing needs such as education and transportation. Moreover, it was sold on a false premise: that the state was in a grip of a violent crime wave. in fact, crime in Virginia, already low by national standards, was declining. As a result, the state overbuilt, ending up with some 4,000 surplus prison cells. To fill them, it is now importing out-of-state prisoners in a unique cell-for-hire program. The series also found that contrary to proponents' emphasis on violent crime, most of the new inmates coming into the system are nonviolent offenders -- especially drug offenders."

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