Delicate strategy in line to cut prison inmate numbers

Faced with a prison housing crunch that is costly, Lycoming County’s judicial network is looking for ways to get minor offenders back into the community instead of jail cells this year.

Last year, as the county went way over housing capacity in its prison, it paid expensive costs to send inmates elsewhere to Tioga and Clinton counties.

So district magistrates have been instructed to try to avoid incarceration in the first place whenever possible.

That’s fine, but it puts a premium on the sentencing decision- making of the district justices. No matter the cost, the public can’t be endangered. We trust our magistrates already know that.