Frontline Reveals Report Showing “Unprecedented” Growth in US Prisons
A new article by Jason M. Breslow from Frontline’s Locked Up in America series reveals what most of us have known for a long time – that tough on crime policies has resulted in overcrowded prisons with little deterrent effect or social benefit. An excerpt from the article explains that,
“The past 40 years have seen the United States become home to more prisoners than any other country in the world. Yet despite this dramatic boom in incarceration rates, a new report finds that the deterrent effect of tough-on-crime policies remain ‘highly uncertain.’
The report, published Wednesday by the National Research Council, describes the rise of incarceration in America as ‘historically unprecedented and internationally unique.’ It found that from 1973 to 2009, the prison population grew from about 200,000 to approximately 2.2 million. With this spike, the U.S. now holds close to a quarter of the world’s prisoners, even though it accounts for just 5 percent of the global population.
‘We are concerned that the United States is past the point where the number of people in prison can be justified by social benefits,’ said Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the chair of the committee behind the study. ‘A criminal justice system that makes less use of incarceration can better achieve its aims than a harsher, more punitive system.’”