How can we square the fact that we are the number one nation in the world in the number of people we put in prison, that an African American male is more likely to end up in jail in today’s America than he would have been under South Africa’s Apartheid regime? According to the London Economist, China is a distant second in number of people incarcerated despite its significantly larger population.
This facts serve to put into perspective the real and urgent need to reform our “crime and punishment” system. It is simply too expensive and the statistics clearly show that affects Americans from different communities in disproportionate fashion.
Historically, crime and punishment have been an ongoing challenge for all empires and for all leaders. American is miserably failing in this regard and we can’t afford to continue down this path of wasting human life in a criminal justice system that is a revolving door with little accountability and without rational goals that serve society as a whole.
What will it take to get America to invest in its young in the areas of education, job training and re-training and, frankly, in a more robust and inclusive view of an America that invests in its most challenged urban and rural areas with a view to the future? Prison reform could yield a significant downpayment on new more enlightened policies that could bring together both sides of the isle for the sake of millions of families and young people.
“ERIC HOLDER and Rick Perry (pictured) have little in common. America’s attorney-general is black, liberal and uses the word “community” a lot. The governor of Texas is white, conservative and says “God” a lot. Last month Mr Holder’s Justice Department sued Texas for allegedly trying to make it harder for blacks to vote. Last year Mr Perry ran to unseat Mr Holder’s boss, Barack Obama.
On one thing, however, the two men agree. On August 12th Mr Holder said: “Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law-enforcement reason.” He then unveiled reforms to reduce the number of people sent to America’s …”