America is now the world's number one incarcerator with a record 1 in every 100 Americans in prison.
Think that ratio looks bad? If you're a man between 20 and 34, its one 1 out of 30, and if you're a black man in that age range, its 1 in 9. For women, its still pretty stark.
So what should we do? I propose the following:
Elimination of federal and state 3-strikes laws. These laws have helped to achieve these prison rates and have shown little effectiveness in terms of crime reduction.
- Reform of drug laws and sentencing. Included should be the legalization of marijuana (which incidentally would spurn a new economy and would serve as a needed boost in many areas including medical research to agriculture vis a vis hemp) and a restructuring of other drug laws with a reliance on prevention and treatment.
- Abolishment of the death penalty. Even this short federal moratorium has started to show that there have been no severe spikes in crime and eventually people would come to fully accept it much like the rest of the world community.
- Public education and awareness as to the situation at hand, and the benefits in moving towards a prevention/treatment based society
- Repeal of laws revoking voting rights for felons. With these stats, its especially apparent that this serves as a modern form of Jim Crow in many areas.
- I don't think you can touch the issue of crime prevention without discussing poverty and education. I hope that the Edwards-driven focus of eliminating poverty be maintained (I applaud Hillary's child poverty prevention initiative). There also needs to be a monetary boost, especially at the federal level, to the education system (I really like Obama's plan for college grants in exchange for public service)
This seems to be, at times, almost a silent issue, as lately its been politically expedient to be "tough on crime."
So what do you think?