Democrats and republicans alike agree that mass

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Democrats and Republicans alike agree that mass incarceration is a problem, and state and federal efforts are underway to enact criminal-justice reform. But enacting effective reform requires an understanding of what caused the problem in the first place. Tough sentencing laws and harsh punishments doled out for drug-related offenses are often blamed for mass incarceration. In July, President Obama even declared that the country has “locked up more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before. And that is the real reason our prison population is so high.” Roughly half of all inmates under federal correctional authority in 2014 were incarcerated for drug-related offenses, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In contrast, only about 16 percent of inmates in state prisons, which house far more prisoners than federal facilities, were incarcerated for drug-related offenses in 2013. If everyone in America currently held for a drug- related offense in state and federal prison were released, that would reduce those prison populations by approximately 20 percent. That would be significant in its own right, but it still wouldn’t be sufficient to end mass incarceration. It’s easier to win popular support for the release of nonviolent offenders as opposed to violent criminals. But if the nation wants to end mass incarceration, Americans are going to have to consider ways to cut down on the violent offender prison population as well. In 2013, roughly half of all state prisoners were incarcerated for violent crime , a percentage that suggests that any serious effort to reduce the prison population will need to grapple with violent as well as nonviolent offenders.
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Works Cited: Wildeman, Christopher. (2012). Mass Incarceration. Oxford Bibliographies. Nott, Daniel. (2016). What is the Mass Incarceration? Medium Source Bibliographies. Crutchfield, Robert. (2013). The Effects of Mass Incarceration on Communities of Color. Kulze, Elizabeth. (2014). States’ Racial Makeup Drives Mass Incarceration. Vocativ Bibliographies. Foran, Clare. (2016). What Can the U.S. Do About Mass Incarceration? The Atlantic Press
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