Our criminal-justice system is failing the American people. Once a controversial statement, that is now a sentiment expressed across the ideological spectrum. Research, data, and public opinion have created a perfect storm of information clearly laying out how our policies fail to make communities safer, and instead can ruin lives, tear apart families, and devastate entire communities.
Today in the United States, there are over 2.3 million individuals in our criminal-justice system, and more than 11 million people cycle in and out of local jails on a yearly basis. Not only are these numbers staggering; they also disproportionately impact people of color. It’s no secret that, at every point in the criminal-justice system, minorities are overrepresented. African Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, yet comprise 40 percent of those incarcerated. If current trends continue, one in six Latino males born in 2001 will go to prison at some point during his lifetime, compared to just one in 17 white males.This article was originally published in Real Clear Policy.