I believe the criminal justice system has been heroic in its problem solving justice innovations. These strategies are smart, cost-effective and save lives. Yet these strategies alone cannot wholly reverse the criminalization crisis. Nor were they intended to.
A responsible approach to criminal justice can make our communities safer, save tax dollars and help all of us, but our current system is falling terribly short -- at great economic, human and moral cost.
Now, with no legal ramifications and no ethical issues forcing me to maintain my silence, I can finally share the one thing that has remained constant over the past two decades -- my personal opinion about Simpson's involvement in that double murder.
One would expect such patently unfair statistics to cause outrage, and calls for more leniency in penal laws, but is it possible that the opposite occurs? Might the blackness of the prisons lead to more, not less, punitive attitudes and policies?
Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, find some agreement that a problem exists when there are 4,000 federal laws that can land you in prison and more than two million Americans are in prison or jail.
I firmly believe there must be swift and certain consequences for all crime, but I also believe that the way our system deals with low-level, nonviolent and non-serious offenders wastes resources needed to fight more serious crime.
We need to address the conditions for its spread, prevent its adverse impacts on children and families, and identify more effective ways to stop our "school to prison pipeline" by creating the conditions for positive trajectories for every member of the most vulnerable communities.
New York State should require recording of interrogations for two very simple reasons. First, it makes policing more accurate. Second, it is necessary because research indicates that false confessions are quite common.
We found that interrogators who were told that their sessions would be taped were less likely to use certain high-pressure interrogation techniques such as threatening the suspect and promising leniency in exchange for a confession.
There's not much forgiveness in American culture. It seems that ex-offenders can't suffer enough or repent enough for our Puritan tastes. Criminal justice experts have been searching for the "holy grail of rehabilitation" for years, and nothing has worked.
For decades, Congress has implemented policies that distort America's criminal justice system and tip the scales of justice in favor of punishment over rehabilitation. As a matter of civil rights and basic justice, our criminal justice system must change.
Incarceration rates in the U.S. have more than quadrupled in the past four decades. There are now 2.2 million people behind bars, a rate of nearly 1 out of 100 U.S. adults, placing the U.S. far outside the experience of other western democracies.