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Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

Rebecca McCray,
Former Managing Editor,
American Civil Liberties Union
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March 29, 2011

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.

Arizona needs to alter view of incarceration
Anjali Abraham, Public Policy Director of the ACLU’s Arizona affiliate, writes a compelling pitch for the state’s dire need to reform its inefficient and ineffective prison system.

Florida: What Conservatives Think About Criminal Justice
Conservative think-tank Right On Crime began work in Florida this week, conducting a poll to gauge the current conservative attitude toward criminal justice policy.

New York: Prisons Fall Short, Again
A three-year study conducted by the Correctional Association of New York reveals the deficiencies of many of the Department of Corrections’ drug and alcohol abuse programs, and offers suggestions for redesigning the programs while maintaining their current budget.

Maryland: Moving into the forefront of prison reform
A great op-ed from Melissa Goemann, Legislative Director of our Maryland affiliate, highlights several progressive bills being introduced and calling for the resuscitation of Maryland’s broken criminal justice system.

Welcome to Debtors’ Prison, 2011 Edition
Though it sounds outrageous, more than a third of all U.S. states allow borrowers who can’t or won’t pay their debts to be locked up — often for very negligible amounts of money. This article examines some of the same issues as our report, In for a Penny: The Rise of American’s Debtors’ Prisons.

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