The prison reformer’s dilemma by Asher Klein Spring/17A UChicago alumnus is challenging the conventional wisdom on mass incarceration.
"At the end of 2015, almost 2.2 million people were incarcerated in American prisons and jails, surpassing the population of New Mexico.
The incarceration rate catapulted in the 1970s and continued to swell over the next 40 years, giving rise to today’s prison reform movement. “Mass incarceration makes our country worse off, and we need to do something about it,” then-president Barack Obama said in 2015.
Many of Obama’s efforts focused on nonviolent drug offenders, mandatory minimum sentences, and private prisons. He’s far from alone in thinking those are the best routes for prison reform, says John Pfaff, AB’97, AM’02, JD’03, PhD’05.
But the conventional wisdom misses the real reasons why the United States is the world’s biggest jailer, argues Pfaff, a Fordham University law professor. Read More
American politicians are now eager to disown a failed criminal-justice system that’s left the U.S. with the largest incarcerated population in the world. But they've failed to reckon with history. Fifty years after Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family” tragically helped create this system, it's time to reclaim his original intent.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Black Family in an Age of Mass Incarceration,” The Atlantic, October 2015
From Bill Moyer's web site:
Incarceration Nation : December 20, 2013
America’s prison population has exploded from 300,000 to more than two million today due to harsh sentencing policies and the 40-year-old war on drugs. This week, Bill speaks to civil rights lawyer and legal scholar Michelle Alexander about why we need to end our system of mass incarceration.
The program also includes an excerpt from the film Susan, by Tessa Blake and Emma Hewitt. It tells the story of former California inmate Susan Burton who built an organization in Los Angeles devoted to helping formerly-incarcerated women rebuild their lives.
Learn more about the production team behind Moyers & Company.
What this is about
Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive