The criminal justice system in the Unites States is in need of reform. This system costs taxpayers too much, is a complete failure as a rehabilitation system, and it places such a high toll on offenders, that it breeds recidivism that lasts a lifetime, and it definitely does not yield any kind of useful social benefits.
The three page Foreword by William J. Fox says the book has three main purposes: “(1) to provide information about the causes and extent of the problems overwhelming the process of criminal justice (2) to explain why reform is long overdue and in our collective best interest (3) to suggest reforms that are supported by empirical evidence.”
Talking about society’s attitude to those who are incarcerated, he says “As a society, we have become hardened toward felons, [But] it is in the public interest to have released offenders rehabilitated – By recognizing the human dignity of all offenders and enabling them to realize redemption and restore their relationships within the community, all of society is ennobled.”
Thanks primarily to the so-called War on Drugs, the prison population in the USA exploded over two decades, from 1980 to 2000. During that time, the number of people jailed went from about 300,000 to over 2,000,000.
Fast forward from 2000 to today, and we discover that around 2% of U.S. working-age men are behind bars, most for non-violent offenses, giving the country the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world. Many people want a tough stance on crime, but it comes with quite a high cost to society.
Not only is it expensive to house inmates, at over $50,000/year in Connecticut, but there is plenty of evidence that it is failing miserably in its efforts to rehabilitate offenders. Consequently, the State has a high recidivism rate, with over half of its ex-cons returning to the correctional system via a virtual revolving door.
That is the contention of Brian Moran, lawyer and author of – “The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream.” Although the book’s focus is on Connecticut, what’s transpired there proves to be par for the course.
The policy of treating juvenile delinquents like adults has been counterproductive. It has been well-proven that an African-American boy who drops out of high school is much more likely to be arrested than get a job. Statistics also show that one in every three black males born today can expect to serve time in prison.
Mr. Moran, as a member of the Malta Justice Initiative, suggests a host of reforms to “The New Jim Crow,” as dubbed by Michelle Alexander, starting with making it easier for parolees to find gainful employment. And the group’s other solutions include reserving incarceration for violent offenders.
The goal is to reduce the cost of the prison system, to reduce its prison population, to reduce its recidivism rate, and to close half of Connecticut’s prisons. This is an admirable initiative spearheaded by a visionary attorney wise enough to seek out the bipartisan support necessary to implement the urgently-needed changes.
To order a copy of The Justice Imperative: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0988650975/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20
The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream
By Brian E. Moran, Esq.
186 pages, Illustrated