The United States imprisons more people than any other nation, including China and Russia. Over 2.3 million adults are currently in American prisons and jails. Locking up more and more people for longer and longer doesn’t make us safer, yet still the incarceration rate has shot up 500% over the past four decades.
We explore the scope and source of mass incarceration in, Sentencing Reform: The Power of Fear. It's the first in a series that highlights the symptoms and solutions to the ongoing mass incarceration epidemic. The criminal justice system is failing but by targeting sentencing reform we can take measures to help break the cycle of systemic violence that disproportionately affects poor communities and communities of color in the U.S.
Millions who are incarcerated today are there due to punitive policies that were been created around drug use and possession. Narrated by renowned physician and addiction specialist, Dr. Gabor Maté, Sentencing Reform: Drug Addiction, focuses on the criminalization of drug addiction and looks at evidence-based solutions that challenge perceptions of people struggling with addiction and asks us to reboot existing drug-related sentencing policies. In the video, we meet Shelly and Keith, two formerly incarcerated adults, who discuss their successful transition away from a life of drugs and lockup with the aid of a Seattle-based post-prison program. Shelly and Keith are living proof that there are viable and scalable solutions to reducing the prison population and ending generational traumas.