Commonwealth's Attorney Candidate Calls for Treatment Over Jail

May 8, 2013

A candidate for Charlottesville's commonwealth's attorney wants to put an end to what he calls the "prison-industrial complex."

Democrat Steve Deaton shared his thoughts during a press conference on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville on Wednesday.

Deaton says crime rates are going down locally and nationally, and that there is no reason to move forward with plans to expand the local jail.

He says the goal of the criminal justice system should not be to fill as many jail spaces as possible. Instead, Deaton says the system should see how many of those spaces can be left unfilled.

"If you build it, they will fill it, meaning the authorities," he said. "The workload of the prisons will increase to fit the available space in spite of the crime rate."

Deaton says the money spent to build or expand jails can be used better in other crime prevention areas, such as mental health and substance abuse treatment.

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