Why should we care if more criminals are behind bars for longer sentences? As president of the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families, I've seen the downsides of mass incarceration up close.
Attorney General Eric Holder's speech to the American Bar Association last Monday announcing critical reforms to the way the Department of Justice prosecutes and addresses drug crimes was historic and long overdue.
Although the decline in juvenile incarceration is encouraging to advocates, there is still little reason to celebrate. The criminalization of youth behavior and the school-to-prison pipeline continue to feed young people into the criminal justice system.
Politicians have held strong to the conventional wisdom that being "tough on crime" will win elections and appease the public's appetite for safety. But the pendulum of public opinion is starting to swing in the other direction.
On Monday, a divided Supreme Court ruled in Florence v. Burlington that any person arrested can be subject to a strip search. This ruling provides the country with an opportune moment to reflect on our epidemic of mass incarceration.