Blog of Rights

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 12:46pm

Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history. And yet, our criminal justice system has failed on every count: public safety, fairness and cost-effectiveness. Across the country, the criminal justice reform conversation is heating up. Each week, we feature our some of the most exciting and relevant news in overincarceration discourse that we’ve spotted from the previous week. Check back weekly for our top picks.

Beyond Budget-Cut Criminal Justice
This article examines the long-term effects of changes made to sentencing laws in light of the fiscal crisis, and lays out a plan for the future.

Florida: New Head of Corrections Edwin Buss Calls for Prison Reform, Cuts
Edwin Buss is shaking up the Florida Department of Corrections, home to the nation’s third-largest prison system.

California: Poll voters favor misdemeanor over felony for small drug possession charges
This new poll from Lake Research Institute suggests a large majority of California voters would be in favor of reducing the punishment for possessing small amounts of drugs for personal use from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Ohio: ACLU of Ohio presents Prisons for Profit: A look at Private Prisons
Although the budget crisis has created opportunities for positive change within our criminal justice system, it has also caused many states to increasingly consider privatization. The ACLU of Ohio’s new report sheds a light on this problematic practice.

Virginia: Returning prisoners to jail at lower-than-average rate, study shows
A new study shows Virginia’s recidivism rate is significantly lower than the national average. This article posits why the state is returning fewer people to prison within three years of their release.

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