Patrick Kevin Day of the LATimes reports, John Oliver swipes 'Sesame Street' format to explain prison problem, on his Sunday Night show Last Week Tonight.
John Oliver spent the second half of his show on Sunday discussing the woeful state of America's prisons, which have seen a ballooning population even while states are moving to privatize them to save money.
How bad has the incarceration problem gotten in America? Longtime children's TV staple "Sesame Street" recently featured a puppet whose father had been sent to jail. "Sesame Street" has long been a place to tackle the basics of childhood life, like numbers, the alphabet, sharing and even some hard topics such as death of a loved one. But prisons?
To see Oliver's own version of "Sesame Street," covering the problems of prison, including the preponderance of mental illness and rape behind bars, you'll need to sit through his 14-minute buildup.
Here is a plot of America's prison population and the racial breakdown.
American has more prisoners than any other country and the highest percentage of our population in prison of any nation in the world.
About half are drug related crimes. My understanding is that most of these are non-violent. People trying to self-medicate themselves in a nation that does not provide adequote health treatment - especially mental health.
I call on President Obama to pardon all non-violent federal drug offenders. Someone here told me the President can not pardon state prisoners, which I find surprising. If it is true than he can not pardon our state's non-violent drug offender, he should use the bully pulpit to call on state governors to do the same.
Having 2.2 million prisoners is disgraceful.