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Speaking of the state’s need to find ways to stretch its dollars, Rep. Rachel Storch, D-St. Louis, had some interesting observations about Chief Justice William Ray Price, Jr.’s speech recommending that we incarcerate fewer people. It seems she doesn’t get the sense that the Honorable Judge got through to Republicans in the legislature.

Despite how the retrograde “thinkers” who control our lege fail to grasp the concept, Price’s idea is a hot topic among those of us in the reality based world. Monday’s Post-Dispatch took up the torch where Price left off and specifically recommended “just for starters“:

• Drug courts need more funding. This is the low-hanging fruit in criminal justice reform – the chance to save serious money by ending the cycle of crime and keeping nonviolent, drug-related offenders out of prison. A lack of funding means state leaders aren’t serious.

• Leaders in rural counties must start to deal with nonviolent offenders in their own communities. If their prosecutors and judges insist on sending everyone to prison, then local taxpayers should be forced to pick up the tab.

• And, Gov. Jay Nixon should convene a panel of top law enforcement, legislative and judicial officials. Their task over the next 120 days should be to develop a plan for closing five of Missouri’s 21 adult correctional institutions over the next five years – one a year for five years – using part of the savings to support alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders.

Missouri desperately needs to get smart on corrections. Necessity is the surest path to progress.

Hey, even the Brits know what we should be doing, as witness this video of a quiz show/comedy routine. So why don’t we?