STATEMENT: CAP’s Todd Cox on President Obama’s Upcoming Visit to Federal Prison
Washington, D.C. — President Barack Obama is set to be the first sitting president to visit a federal prison on Thursday, July 15, during a week that has seen considerable focus on various aspects of criminal justice. On Monday, he commuted the sentences of 46 individuals, and on Tuesday during a speech at the NAACP Convention in Philadelphia, he discussed inequity in the criminal justice system, touching upon the need for meaningful criminal justice reform and the significant reform efforts his administration has already made. Todd A. Cox, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response:
There is so much more to be done in order to achieve real reform that would keep our communities safe while ending mass incarceration and overcriminalization and removing unnecessary barriers to socio-economic opportunities for those with criminal records. The impact of overcriminalization and overincarceration resonates throughout the country. Between 70 million and 100 million Americans—or as many as one in three—have a criminal record. Today, even a minor criminal record serves as both a direct cause and consequence of poverty, presenting obstacles to employment, housing, public assistance, education, family reunification, and more. The impact of mass incarceration on communities of color is particularly staggering and is a significant driver of racial inequality in the United States.
The Center for American Progress urges Congress and the administration to implement meaningful criminal justice reform that ensures that the justice system remains fair, balanced, and equitable and affords those with criminal records a second chance.
The following CAP experts are available for comment:
- Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President, Policy
- Todd A. Cox, Senior Fellow
- Rebecca Vallas, Director of Policy, Poverty to Prosperity Program
- Michele Jawando, Vice President, Legal Progress
- One Strike and You’re Out: How We Can Eliminate Barriers to Economic Security and Mobility for People with Criminal Records by Rebecca Vallas and Sharon Dietrich
- 4 Ideas That Could Begin to Reform the Criminal Justice System and Improve Police-Community Relations by Michele L. Jawando and Chelsea Parsons
- Poverty and Opportunity Profile: Americans with Criminal Records by Half in Ten and The Sentencing Project
- All Pennsylvanians Will Benefit from a Clean Slate Policy for Minor Criminal Records
- Event: Toward a More Perfect Union: Bringing Criminal Justice Reform to Our Communities
To speak to an expert or for more information, please contact Tanya S. Arditi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.741.6258.