Call for prison reform are finally drawing attention from policy makers and members of the law enforcement community. Via the Scout Report at the University of Wisconsin:
- U.S. Prison system a costly and harmful failure
about recent JFA report.
- California a leader in number of youths in prison for life
- Crack cocaine sentence cut is stalled by retroactivity
- NPR: Should Sentencing Reform Be Retroactive? [Real Player]
- Unlocking America [pdf]
- Bureau of Justice Statistics
Within the vast world of pressing policy problems, system-wide prison reform in the United States has been a subject that has vexed even the most dedicated experts and committed activists. Over the past four decades, the prison population has risen eight-fold, and people have laid the blame on everything from mandatory sentencing laws to economic restructuring in America's manufacturing regions.
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Via Sentencing Law and Policy, the Senate's Joint Economic Committee (JEC) will hold a hearing this morning on ""Mass Incarceration in the United States: At What Cost?" The purpose is "to explore the economic consequences and causes of and solutions to the steep increase of the U.S. prison population."
The press release is here (pdf).
The United States has experienced a sharp increase in its prison population in the past thirty years. From the 1920s to the mid-1970s, the incarceration rate in the United States remained steady at approximately 110 prisoners per 100,000 people. Today, the incarceration rate is 737 inmates per 100,000 residents, comprising 2.1 million persons in federal, state, and local prisons. The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population but now has 25 percent of its prisoners. There are approximately 5 million Americans under the supervision of the correctional system, including parole, probation, and other community supervision sanctions.
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