Posted in Culture, Politics with tags Jim Webb, Obama, prison reform, war on drugs
on March 26, 2009 | by christian
Thank you Jim Webb:
Alarmed by prisons that are clogged with mentally ill people, drug users and other non-violent offenders while well-armed gangs and drug lords often go unpunished, Virginia Sen. Jim Webb will launch a wide-ranging and politically risky campaign today to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system.
With nearly 2.4 million Americans now behind bars, Webb said, “our incarceration rate has exploded…. But at the same time we aren’t really solving the problems.”
With backing from senior Democratic senators and quiet encouragement from President Barack Obama, Webb will introduce legislation to create a bipartisan commission on criminal justice reform.
Webb said he wants the commission to educate itself and then the American public on some little-understood realities about crime and punishment.
His bill reads like an indictment of the current system, noting that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, that minorities make up a disproportionately large share of prison populations, and that half of prisoners will return to prison within three years of release.
Webb said he hopes that once people begin to understand that such a high rate of imprisonment has done little to stop violent crime or drug trafficking, they’ll support changes.