Obama pushes for prison reforms

former inmates

Inmates of Orleans Parish Prison.

As a part of the President’s push for prison reforms, Obama has announced initiatives to help former inmates find jobs and subsidized housing.

“I believe we can disrupt the pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails,” he said in his weekly address. “I believe we can address the disparities in the application of criminal justice, from arrest rates to sentencing to incarceration. And I believe we can help those who have served their time and earned a second chance get the support they need to become productive members of society.”
Last week, the President addressed some of the nations police chiefs and told them that the thin blue line was being “scapegoated” for larger problems with the criminal justice system.
President Obama has also taken aim at mandatory-minimum sentences for drug offences, which activists claim area major contributing factor to overcrowding in prisons.
“(I will) keep working with people in both parties to get criminal justice reform bills to my desk, including a bipartisan bill that would reduce mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders and reward prisoners with shorter sentences if they complete programs that make them less likely to commit a repeat offense,” the President said.
The United States has 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but 22 percent of the world’s prisoners. The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country on Earth. The U.S. incarcerates more people than countries like Russia, China and Iran.
There is of course a lot of money to be made by profiteers in the prison industry. Private prisons are guaranteed federal money for every inmate, creating an incentive for big business to push for harsher sentencing laws to protect their cash flow.
In exchange, prisons force their inmates to make product for U.S. markets and these slaves do not just make license plate. Prisoners make a lot of military equipment, jeans, lingerie and nearly all household paints sold in the United States.
[The Boston Globe] [The Hill] [The Week]