David R. Francis' Commentary piece "An Opportunity in Prison Budget Cuts" is about how recession is forcing states to drastically reduce prison budgets. He believes that if done right we the American people could possibly benefit from the reduction of offenders sent to prison. Francis claims that prisons are over crowded and lacking adequate health care. He considers this to be cruel and unusual punishment that results in riots and destroys prisons. He proposes that we focus on imprisoning violent offenders only. He suggests that non-violent offenders undergo drug and alcohol treatment in place of jail. Francis goes on to say that by providing rehabilitation and vocational training for non-violent offenders it will help reduce America's fear of setting offenders free. Francis' commentary explores the benefits of reducing and recycling by providing rehabilitation to non-violent offenders.
Francis is a staff writer of the Christan Science monitor. The Christian Science monitor is widely praised for its lack of extreme controversy and non hysterical journalism. It is easy to see this in his commentary piece on prison budget cuts. His choice of words are wisely chosen in a direct manner that is open to a target audience of variety. Francis' goal is to inform and better educate his readers. According to Francis,"It's the recession that's forcing their hand. Done right, though, the cuts can lead to needed prison reform." This sentence shows that Francis is not putting blame on a certain person. Recession is to blame. He is merely stating that due to circumstance, recycling the inmates can lead to good instead of just throwing them away along with the key.
The argument that David R. Francis is trying to get across is that we sometimes get stuck in our ways and are scared of change, even when it can lead to good. Francis assumes that the reason for the lack of change is prison systems is based on America's fear: "There's only one way to achieve significant savings: reduce the number of inmates. That's not as scary as it sounds."He fails to explore other possibilities such as justice. It is possible that some people are cautious about letting minor offenders free due to lack of punishment. Those with children would argue that selling drugs to children is the same as killing them. The reason for lack of change in Francis' commentary is one sided but he is very clear in the specific terms that would help create positive change: "Rehabilitation, vocational change, and parole reform can stop the prison revolving door without setting off alarm bells with the public." He is direct with the specific tools the government should adapt in order to cut costs as well as reform offenders. Francis has suggested a green approach to recycling offenders as oppose to throwing them away.
When it comes to evidence in Francis' commentary it can be considered limited. His statistics are numerous but are focused on one state in general. He does a wonderful job telling his readers how California ranks in the prison system as well as how they could benefit from change: "In August a panel of federal judges ordered California to significantly reduce its prison population." Francis regretfully forgot those of us that live in other states. How does it affect us? It might have been wise to add a few other state's statistics.
Overall I think Francis wrote a successful commentary. I was personally convinced that reducing the number of inmates could possible benefit us all in the long run. Helping offenders who need a help up could change their lives and those they touch for the better. His statistics were sound and very persuasive despite the lack of their variety. We live in the new age of "Going Green." Why must it only apply to our natural resources? It is possible that a reformed offender could be the next resource we need. Recycle the offenders!