Article provided by: National Incarceration Association
The National Incarceration Association (NIA) is an organization dedicated to helping Americans who were impacted in one way or another by incarceration and the justice system. Sometimes we think that because we’ve never been in prison or known someone that has, then it doesn’t affect us.
But mass incarceration is a real phenomenon in the US that has been destroying communities and families for over 40 years. So, It doesn’t matter if you are guilty or innocent, or if you or someone you know has been in prison, or if you’ve never been near a prison, this situation has an impact on everyone.
What is Mass Incarceration?
Mass incarceration is what has been happening with the justice system in the US since the “war on drugs” started in the 70s. Each year the justice system got harsher with punishing crimes related to drugs even when they were non-violent.
Then later, it became true for other offenses; the system became harsher with longer sentences for lesser crimes. The prisons in the US used punishment methods like solitary confinement that are considered torture according to international standards.
The number of incarcerated people snowballed until it reached over two million in 2010, and it hasn’t come down since. The US is the country in the world, with more people incarcerated. The country has 25% of the incarcerated population in the world and only 4% of the total world population.
It also happens that most of the inmates are African American or Latino, so the less privileged population of society are the ones who experience it more. How does that work over such a long period? It has left a justice system bias toward specific races that give harsher punishments, and that needs a huge budget.
What is Criminal Justice Reform?
The criminal justice reform is the change that the US needs to fix the significant issues in the justice systems that have become clearer in the last few years. It includes a prison reform to correct the mass incarceration that has been going on in the last few decades.
Things like reducing prison sentences that are more in line with the crime and reducing overcriminalization are part f the change. But, it includes much more like changing drug policy, juvenile justice, police brutality, discriminatory sentencing, and much more.
Why the country needs criminal reform?
Many times, people who go to prison for a limited sentence go out to become our neighbors and fellow community members. However, being a felon is almost impossible to get opportunities to continue their lives. It is harder for them to get a job, to get proper housing, and even to get a student loan.
These people are parents, daughters, sons, spouses, so their incarcerations not only destroy their future, but it has an impact on everyone that knows them. For everything mentioned before, legal reform is not only necessary but is an obligation for our country.
The NIA is working to create awareness of what is happening by giving information to people affected by the system, giving resources about the legal reform, helping individual felons rehabilitate, and help families overcome the incarceration and repair their relationships.
For more information, contact the National Incarceration Association 470.869.2966Justice Reform
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