Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Video Highlights Persisting Problems in Broken U.S. Criminal Justice System
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Video Highlights Persisting Problems in Broken U.S. Criminal Justice System

Washington, D.C. — Following an event last week hosted by the Center for American Progress and PICO National Network exploring the need to reverse the trend of overcriminalization of people of color in our country’s criminal justice system, CAP has released a new video highlighting the persisting problems plaguing a system that is in dire need of reform.

“Our broken criminal justice system and the resulting overincarceration and overcriminalization is a major driver of poverty and inequality, particularly racial inequality, in the United States,” said Todd A. Cox, CAP Senior Fellow. “We all suffer when we do not have a justice system that is fair. It is critical that we find solutions that strike the proper balance between ensuring our communities are safe while addressing the structural inequities in the criminal justice system.”

The video highlights the following points:

  • The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration, with 2.2 million people currently in its prisons or jails.
  • Communities of color are particularly affected by mass incarceration and overcriminalization, making up more than 60 percent of the population behind bars—this is a major driver of inequality, particularly racial inequality, and poverty in the United States.
  • The need to remove the profit motive from putting people behind bars: The United States spent $80 billion on mass incarceration in 2010, more than four times what it spent in 1980.
  • One in three Americans has a criminal record, which can serve as a barrier to acquiring affordable housing and getting a job.

Winnie Stachelberg, CAP Executive Vice President for External Affairs, remarks in the video: “Today, a criminal record serves as both a direct cause and consequence of our poverty, presenting obstacles to employment, housing, public assistance, education, family reunification, and more.”

Watch the video here.

For more information on this topic, or to speak to an expert, please contact Tanya S. Arditi at [email protected] or 202-741-6258.

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