America’s shame: Can Jim Webb fix the prison gulag?

AlterNet
by Katrina vanden Heuvel

02/16/09

Our criminal justice system is broken. The U.S. represents 5 percent of the world’s population but accounts for nearly 25 percent of its prison population. We are incarcerating at a record rate with one in 100 American adults now locked up — 2.3 million people overall. As a New York Times editorial stated simply, ‘This country puts too many people behind bars for too long.’ But people who have been fighting for reform for decades are seeing new openings for change. The fiscal crisis has state governors and legislators looking for more efficient and effective alternatives to spending $50 billion a year on incarceration. At the federal level, there is reason to believe that the Obama administration and a reinvigorated Department of Justice will take a hard look at the inequities of the criminal justice system and work for a smarter and more effective approach to public safety. Finally, there are Congressional leaders — none more prominent than Senator Jim Webb — who understand that the system isn’t functioning as it should and there is an urgent need for reform...

//adjix.com/t55i


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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