Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Filling prisons is killing families

By Mouser the King Cat

Karol Markowicz is a gem of a columnist who writes once a week for the New York Post. She recently took on a topic that seems to get only small amounts of traction here and there – what to do about our out-of-control criminal justice system:
In the last 40 years, America’s prison population has spiked. One in 31 Americans is either in jail or on probation or parole. According to a special report by the Bureau of Justice [Statistics] in 2014, which tracked the release of over 400,000 prisoners in 30 states, over 75% were arrested again within five years of getting out. It’s easy to shrug … but as the prisoner count continues to spiral ever upward, it becomes more likely that someone you care about will become ensnared in the broken system.
Parts of the column are personal. Born in the U.S.S.R. and raised in Brooklyn, Ms. Markowicz recalls seeing friends and neighbors being carted off the prison for selling marijuana and stock fraud. (Those were the good old days before all stocks basically became a fraud.) She also tells the story of a father of two young children convicted in federal court of insurance fraud, likely facing a 20-year term. Her conclusion:
While the argument that mass incarceration [has] led to a safer country can’t be discounted, we also shouldn’t discount the societal price, especially the breakdown of families across so many communities. We can change the criminal justice system now or we can wait until even more people are crushed by it. But change it we must.
My theory: Few want to take this large issue head on. Jailing-for-profit outrages are swept under the rug by compliant media. Activists citing disproportionate numbers of minorities in prison often drift into shrill rhetoric that is easy to ignore.

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