Congress Must Act Now to Ensure Second Chances for Americans with Criminal Records and Their Families
In the coming months, Congress could take important steps to fix the nation’s broken criminal justice system. It’s an overhaul that’s long overdue. The policies imposed during the so-called tough-on-crime era of the 1980s and 1990s have produced tragic consequences for entire communities already ravaged by high rates of poverty, lack of opportunity, and rampant inequality. Over-criminalization and mass incarceration continue to drive racial inequality and poverty in America. In fact, one study estimates that the overall poverty rate would have dropped 20 percent between 1980 and 2004 if not for mass incarceration.
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Todd A. Cox
Director, Criminal Justice Policy