Chip Taylor has written a few posts about the expense of imprisoning criminals, and I'd like to ask a question:
Would justice be hindered if non-violent, non-injurious crimes were not punished with incarceration?
Perhaps interpretation of the 8th Amendment has eliminated so many other potential punishments that we're forced to use imprisonment for everything, but this need not remain the case. For example, public floggings have a long history of use in every part of the world, and could be performed under proper medical supervision such that no permanent injury would be inflicted. Non-violent offenders could also be subject to terms of indentured servitude, and could thus contribute to society during their punishment.
Even aside from my opinion that many non-violent crimes shouldn't be "crimes" at all, completely restructuring our punishment paradigm could save us a great deal of money, and perhaps further the execution of justice, as well.