Reducing Mass Incarceration
With 2.3 million Americans behind bars, the criminal justice system is larger than ever. Its growing tentacles have caught almost every demographic subset of our country. The U.S. has less than five percent of the world’s population, yet incarcerates nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners. The system also has massive hidden economic and societal costs that reverberate throughout society, affecting all of us.
The Brennan Center seeks to reduce mass incarceration through policy and legal reforms to create a more rational system that protects public safety and communities. The Center seeks to eliminate the criminalization of minor behavior, reform selective enforcement policies, institute a proportional system of punishment, and holding all actors in the criminal justice system accountable by ensuring that government dollars are spent on effective, evidence-based programs.
The Center also focuses on strengthening public defense through the Community-Oriented Defender (COD) Network, a national movement dedicated to making sure all Americans have access to legal counsel when facing criminal charges.
To read about the program’s latest work, read the latest Justice Update e-newsletter here.
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