Blog of Rights

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 5:17pm

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.

A Missed Chance for Criminal Justice Reform in Indiana
Gilbert Holmes, Executive Director of the ACLU of Indiana, writes of the Indiana legislature’s failure to support Gov. Mitch Daniels’ plan for criminal justice reform that would have saved the state billions of dollars.

Louisiana: Ouachita rejects jail tax
Voters in Louisiana’s Ouachita Parish voted against a proposition that would have raised property taxes to fund the Ouachita Correctional Center. Discussions of privatizing the jail to make up for the deficit are now on the table.

Louisiana: Fourth marijuana conviction gets Slidell man life in prison
Louisiana, our nation’s largest incarcerator, makes the news again – this time for a completely outrageous sentence for a drug offense. Cornell Hood II was sentenced to life in prison after his fourth marijuana-related offense under the state’s repeat-offender law.

Ohio: Poised To Reduce Criminal Sentences
The Ohio House passed a bill last week that if passed in the Senate will save the state approximately $78 million dollars in corrections costs, as well as equalizing powder and crack-cocaine sentences. Gov. John Kasich is eager to sign the bill.

Served Out: Aging and Dying Behind Bars
This haunting photo series from photographers/videographers Tim Gruber and Jenn Ackerman tells the story of those who grow old and unable to care for themselves behind bars. The duo also produced a separate series on mental illness in prisons.

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