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Dan Yorke: Let's build more prisons

WPRO-AM's Dan Yorke has been beating the drum this afternoon for additional prison construction as a way of responding to the all-time high population at the ACI.

One of his callers upped the ante, suggesting that the state take Central Falls by eminent domain, build a wall around it, "and then we'd have an Escape from New York scenario."

"That's a little tough," responded Yorke, who nonetheless went on to say that there are good citizens in Central Falls -- 12 to 15 at least. He then slapped himself with one of his own bad conduct penalties for what seemed like an unfortunate attempt at humor, and asserted that he was not engaging in a right-wing polemic.

Nonetheless, with repeated references to "the poverty pimps", aka advocates for social programs, and other elements of his conversation, Yorke seems to be bringing more heat than light to this subject. Perhaps it's the contrarian in him. But it doesn't help when callers perpetuate myths about the coddling of prisoners or, like the one referenced above, engage in what seems like thinly veiled racism. 

Yorke describes the prison issue as one of keeping the public safe and cutting spending on what he calls dubious social programs. The bigger question, IMHO, is whether the state can save money through a more effective criminal justice policy. Lots of other states have done so.

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