October 7, 2015

How to Get Smart on Crime

The Progressive, Oct. 2015, has a lead article explaining the different groups interested in prison reform. Today, anyway. Anne-Marie Cusac uses one released felon's story to exemplify the problems within the System and the hopes felons have as they leave The Walls. The she reviews the promised changes and the political atmosphere behind the interest in prison reform. My favorite paragraph: "Republicans justify criminal justice reform from different perspectives. Fiscal conservatives focus on saving money; religious conservatives on saving souls. ... social conservatives have turned to criminal justice because they have noticed the effect the system has on families." I don't care if they have suddenly discovered prison reform because they are worried about non-climate change or pink elephants. If liberals and conservatives can actually work together--even with differing motives--then something might get done. Something. I have little optimism about the whole, huge bundle of issues, but maybe just getting prisons back to a mere 100% of capacity might lessen the strain on the prison guards, and thus lessen the insane inhumanity within the units. Maybe if both sides pressure the court systems, the prosecutors will finally attempt justice in cases rather than convictions. But ever so much would have to change to make that miracle occur. Articles like this one, and the ones in The Atlantic, will bring the question in front of a few readers. What, though, might we do to get the problem and solutions into the faces of the rest of the citizenry?
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