As election season heats up, candidates from across the political spectrum running for various offices are agreeing on the need for criminal justice reform. For good reason: The U.S. has 1.5 million prisoners and 2.3 million people in the broader criminal justice system; it incarcerates its citizens at a rate that is five times the world average.
A huge portion of these prisoners are nonviolent offenders. Hundreds of thousands of them are casualties in the failed “war on drugs,” which has ruined countless lives, families, and communities. It’s clear, say an increasing number of candidates and experts, that the “tough on crime” approach of the past couple of decades has been a failure.
In the new Learn Liberty video below, George Mason University Professor Don Boudreaux explains the problems with the current criminal justice system and the bipartisan proposals to fix it. He highlights the racial disparities in the criminal justice system and explains how drug courts and treatment centers rather than traditional courts and prisons are reforms that an increasing number of people support. More than ever, candidates are even calling for the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana, which would free thousands of people from the claws of the criminal justice system.
Over the next several months, we are going to hear some heated rhetoric and attacks among candidates; hopefully the issue of criminal justice reform will be one area of cool-headed reasoning.