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