The U.S. prison population has spiked dramatically since 1980. This is largely due to the famous (or infamous, depending on your position) “War On Drugs”. Reagan and his “Just Say No” campaign ushered in a no-tolerance, punitive and harmful era in American criminal law.
“…casual drug users should be taken out and shot”
-L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates (1990)
Non-violent drug offenders – largely addicts – fill our prison system. An entire generation of Americans has been adversely affected by this draconian approach to criminal justice. It’s not just the incarcerated who are impacted: their families, friends and communities all suffer the economic, physical and emotional ramifications of their absences. Incarceration for addicts and other low-level non-violent offenders merely perpetuates a system of exclusion, institutionalization and ultimately recidivism.
Students for Sentencing Reform advocates for rational and humanitarian change to the current U.S. criminal justice system:
- Shorter jail or prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders
- Community-based programs to treat and rehabilitate drug addicts and non-violent offenders
- Institute reforms akin to California’s Prop 47 nationally
Sentencing reform and mass incarceration: NOT just a “criminal” issue.