First, congratulations to the anti-patronage reformers on the Cook County Board who muscled through a budget that didn't resort to higher taxes. There's plenty of patronage to weed out in Cook County, and the majority of commissioners are now (at least this week) on the side of efficient government.
But, our jails and prisons are ridiculously overcrowded, and all those bodies cost a lot of money. I heard the estimate is something like 20 grand annually for every inmate.
Meanwhile, the per-student cost at Chicago Public Schools is around $7,000.
We ought to stop locking people up so much.
Especially for possession of soft drugs like pot.
It's not a good sign that the Medical Marijuana bill didn't get out of committee a few weeks ago. I wonder how a Decriminalize Pot bill would fare. And I wonder what the fiscal note on that would be ("Not locking up non-violent pot smokers is estimated to save the state $400 million annually).
The Cook County budget next year might depend on a sane drug policy. . . .