But officials in the Obama administration and on Capitol Hill say there is one issue that may have enough cross-party appeal to break through the logjams. That issue is criminal justice reform.

You might call it a nascent civil rights movement in response to the new Jim Crow. About 150 people gathered Saturday morning at St. Peter Baptist Church in Glen Allen to discuss mass incarceration, the war on drugs and their effect on the black community. The Virginia Alliance Against Mass Incarceration has scheduled forums Wednesday in Richmond’s East End.
Transforming poorer neighborhoods into desirable real estate for the new elites often requires getting rid of the poor: jail becomes the new home for many. The U.S. leads the world in prisoners with 2.27 million in jail and more than 4.8 million on parole. Minorities have been especially hard hit, forming 39.4% of the prison population, with one in three black men expected to serve time during their lifetimes.
The holiday season is here.  In millions of homes across the country, loved ones are missing from holiday celebrations, parents are longing for the warm embrace of a son or daughter, siblings are reminiscing of times past, and children are longing for their moms and dads.
A leading law and policy institute unveiled a new proposal to reform the federal government’s largest criminal justice funding program. The Brennan Center for Justice's new proposal, Reforming Funding to Reduce Mass Incarceration, sets out a plan to link federal grant money to modern criminal justice goals – as a tool to promote innovative crime-reduction policies nationwide.
Monday, 09 June 2014 00:00

Repackaging Mass Incarceration

Since my CounterPunch article last November which  assessed the state of the movement against mass incarceration, the rumblings of change in the criminal justice have steadily grown louder. Attorney General Eric Holder has continued to stream his mild-mannered critique by raising the issue of felony disenfranchisement; the President has stepped forward with a proposal for clemency for people with drug offenses that could free hundreds.
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 00:00

End Mass Criminalization

The United States houses 25% of the world's inmates despite having only 5% of the world's population. This fact prompted former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia to say, "Either we have the most evil people on earth living in the U.S., or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice." The prison industrial complex has a vested interest in keeping people locked up.

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