Nearly 40 percent of the total U.S. prison population are behind bars with no compelling public safety reason, according to a recent report about mass incarceration in America.
The report, published by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, aims to provide "a blueprint for how the country can drastically cut its prison population while still keeping crime rates near historic lows."
According to the Brennan Center, non-violent, lower-level offenders could be better served by alternative methods such as treatment, community service or probation. If implemented, the report estimates these measures could save the country nearly $20 billion annually.
There are approximately 1.46 million people currently incarcerated in the United States. How can we reduce this prison population without endangering public safety?
- Lauren-Brooke Eisen, senior counsel in the Brennan Center's Justice Program and an author of the report, "How Many Americans Are Unnecessarily Incarcerated?"
- Derek Cohen, deputy director in the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Right on Crime campaign
- Gerald Reamey, professor at St. Mary's University School of Law
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