Webb on prison reform

Glenn Greenwald commends Senator Jim Webb for trying to bring attention to our incarceration rates and the need for prison reform. (Though I’m sick of the blogosphere hyperventilating over Obama’s response to the question about pot legalization.) Here’s an excerpt from a speech Webb gave last week:

The elephant in the bedroom in many discussions on the criminal justice system is the sharp increase in drug incarceration over the past three decades. In 1980, we had 41,000 drug offenders in prison; today we have more than 500,000, an increase of 1,200%. . . .

In many cases these issues involve people’s ability to have proper counsel and other issues, but there are stunning statistics with respect to drugs that we all must come to terms with. African-Americans are about 12% of our population; contrary to a lot of thought and rhetoric, their drug use rate in terms of frequent drug use rate is about the same as all other elements of our society, about 14%. But they end up being 37% of those arrested on drug charges, 59% of those convicted, and 74% of those sentenced to prison by the numbers that have been provided by us. . . .

It’s a great post. Too difficult to pull quotes from. Take the time to read the whole thing.

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