Blog of Rights

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 11:52am

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.

California: Prison reform should start with women
California is an archetype of our broken criminal justice system, and this editorial proposes the path to reform should start with rethinking the way we incarcerate and rehabilitate the women of the sunshine state.

Indiana: Editorial: How to spend less on prisons, and keep us safe
Pat Nolan, a former Republican leader of the California State Assembly, applauds Gov. Mitch Daniels for refusing to tolerate the expensive and unreasonable amendments to a prison reform bill demanded by prosecutors in Indiana.

Mississippi: Released from jail, Scott sisters still seek full pardon
The Scott sisters’ fight for freedom hasn’t ended outside of prison walls – they are now seeking a full pardon from Gov. Haley Barbour. A full pardon would restore their rights and enable them to vote.

Prison reform advocates press states to shift money out of corrections system
Liberal and conservative groups alike have identified a bright spot in these dark financial times, and are working together to convince politicians looking to trim budgets that corrections spending should be the first to go.

ACLU Joins Broad Coalition to Urge Government Spending on Schools, Not Prisons
This week, the ACLU joined a broad coalition of groups to highlight the enormous social and fiscal cost of America’s addiction to incarceration and efforts to shift the government’s focus and resources from locking people up to education. The ACLU joined National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Americans for Tax Reform to discuss a new report, Misplaced Priorities: Over Incarcerate, Under Educate.

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