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Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights From the Blog

Rebecca McCray,
Managing Editor,
American Civil Liberties Union
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September 2, 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.

Katrina, revisited?
A 2006 ACLU report on the horrific conditions endured by inmates at Orleans Parish Prison in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina was referenced in many blog posts this weekend responding to the revelation that New York City has no emergency evacuation plan for the more than 12,000 people at Rikers Island. The ACLU report was mentioned by the NPR blog The Two-Way, Gothamist, Mother Jones, New York Magazine, Colorlines and Solitary Watch among others.

Get ready, California counties, here come the inmates
As California prepares for a massive transfer of prisoners from state to county responsibility, concerns about how rocky this transition may be are voiced by reformers and Los Angeles County supervisors alike.

California: Education vs. Prisons: Shifting Priorities
As the California Department of Corrections’ budget climbs, the state’s funding for public universities has decreased. This article examines the state’s funding and defunding process.

Ohio: State Prison Sold to Private Company
With scant budgets to work with, many state corrections departments have considered selling prisons to private corporations to make ends meet. With these sales come a host of concerns — including lack of oversight of prison conditions. Ohio recently took the leap, selling one of their facilities for $72.7 million.

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