Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Dr. Dewey MacKay, with his wife Kathy MacKay, arrives at the Frank E. Moss Courthouse for his sentencing for violations of the Controlled Substance Act which resulted in the death of an individual in Salt Lake City Monday, Dec. 19, 2011.

Why do we insist on harsh sentences for non-violent crimes? When we lock-up a murderer or rapist for 20 years, we, the people, are protected from further violence by that person.

When we lock away a doctor for illegally writing prescriptions, the only thing we get is a 20-year bill. With his conviction of illegally writing prescriptions, Dr. McKay lost his medical license. He can no longer write prescriptions; the problem is solved. But with his 20-year sentence, we now have an additional tax burden without a public benefit. When will we recognize that the solution to expensive government is pragmatism in our sentencing?

Is $100,000 or more per year in incarceration costs worth "feeling good" that this man pays the price for his crimes? It looks more like the taxpayer is paying the price for his crimes.

Rob Moore