United States prisons are a blight on our country and a cancer to our future. Only half our prisoners are in prison due to a violent crime. Minorities, the fastest growing demographics, are imprisoned at far greater rates than their white neighbors. Our economy in desperate need of cuts and revenue yet spends on average of $31,000 per inmate per year! In states like California it is upwards of 50-60K. This is money that could be used to pay an entire teacher’s salary or cover college tuition at a great school and be recirculated into our economy. Instead it is sunk costs and ruined lives. This must change.
There are many good ideas on how this can be done. The two that I believe would have the greatest impact are to shed ourselves of the for profit prison sector which is one more reason to minimize corporate money and influence in Washington. The second is to end the war on drugs. A war which has been waged for decades now and I doubt there is anyone that would claim it has been a success. Our prisons are loaded with non violent pot smokers and pushers who are enrolled in schools of violence 101 when they are booked into the local pokey. We must break the taboo of a drug war that is breaking apart entire communities and fracturing our society.