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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Pushes For Prison Alternatives For Nonviolent Offenders

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(Pennsylvania state senator Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montco, listens as  state auditor general Jack Wagner speaks at Philadelphia City Hall.  Photo by Mike DeNardo)

(Pennsylvania state senator Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montco, listens as state auditor general Jack Wagner speaks at Philadelphia City Hall. Photo by Mike DeNardo)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Pennsylvania could save millions on prison costs if the state made better use of alternative sentences for nonviolent offenders.  That was the message today from Pennsylvania auditor general Jack Wagner, who joined state senator Stewart Greenleaf at Philadelphia City Hall to endorse the idea of investing in alternative programs for nonviolent criminals.

Greenleaf, a Montgomery County Republican, stood before a chart that showed Pennsylvania with the fastest-growing prison population in the nation.

“With an aggressive alternative sentencing program and better treatment programs in general, we can actually reverse the increases that you see on these three charts,” he said.

Greenleaf is sponsoring legislation to use more specialized courts like drug courts, and to move nonviolent criminals to halfway houses.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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