I was pleasantly surprised to read about this interview with Governor Bill Ritter.In Mesa County, people are concerned about repeat offenders. Local 11 News asked him what the state was going to do about it. Rather than take the usual politicians’ way out and answer that we need to lock offenders up for longer periods, he gave a less popular but much better answer:

The governor says moving money from jails to rehabilitation programs is one way to reduce recidivism. The governor has also set up the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.As part of his budget proposal, the governor is asking for $5.9 million for programs for substance abuse, mental health and vocational programs. He says it could save the state $17 million in prison costs over the next five years.

It’s refreshing to have a Governor who knows the difference between being tough on crime and smart about crime — and is willing to invest our resources in the latter.