Criminal InJustice† is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Criminal InJustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm CST.
by nancy a heitzeg
Sometimes we do have good news.
The public, it seems, may have had enough of draconian criminal justice policies. The death penalty has been called into question in a growing number of states with the most recent abolition being Connecticut -- the fifth state to end the practice in the past five years.
Now mass incarceration is undergoing similar scrutiny. Initially, state budget crises brought the issue of the direct and collateral costs of incarceration to the fore, but now public opinion is moving towards a deepening critiques of of our over-use of prisons, especially for non-violent offenders.
A recent survey -- Public Opinion on Sentencing and Corrections Policy in America - shows a surprising and bi-partisan) rejection of prison as the primary mechanism for addressing crime.
Please see the full report (pdf linked above), but here are a few highlights..
The message is finally getting through.. Who knows what accounts for the alchemy of the moment??
But, books such as The New Jim Crow are sparking public conversation in new ways, and straight - forward figures such as 1 in 100 incarcerated and 1 in 31 under correctional supervision put the massive numbers in a starkly comprehensible light.
Keep spreading the word..To everyone you know -- especially your elected representatives.
And Thank You..