One of the readings for this week’s meeting of a class I am taking on “What Ails America?” was about the U.S. war on drugs and the mass incarceration that ensued. ( See https://to.pbs.org/2OfRbkX )
Incarceration has devastating consequences for the incarcerated: broken families, poverty, few employment opportunities and loss of the rights of citizenship including the right to vote, to serve on juries, to be free of legal discrimination in employment and housing, and to have access to public benefits.
The number of incarcerations in the U.S. grew by 600% from the mid-1960’s to 2000. President Nixon’s 1970’s tough war on drugs was one of the culprits. But President Reagan was even tougher.
While today’s crime rates are at historical lows, incarceration rates are still increasing. Can we change this? I’m looking around for reasons to be optimistic.