Interesting read, especially in light of the bi-partisan support for criminal justice reform which centers around non-violent drug offenders. According to this article, that approach will do little to fix the incarceration problem. As it states:
In fact, Obama’s argument does little to undermine the logic of incarceration. Instead, focusing on non-violent drug offenders misleads the public as to the nature and scale of our incarceration binge. And it affirms the idea that, at least for most people, our prison system is just.
America has the largest prison population in the world, both by total numbers and by percentage of the population: by the end of 2013, 1.57 million people were incarcerated in US prisons. That’s a staggering number of people behind bars.
But most of these offenders aren’t there for non-violent drug crimes, according to an interview at Jacobin with Marie Gottschalk, author of Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics. “In fact,” Gottschalk said, “if we released everyone now serving time in state prisons whose primary charge is a drug offense, we would reduce the state prison population by only 20%.”