From the article:
The U.S. prison population is booming. It is estimated nearly 2.2 million people were incarcerated in America in 2016, and as many people in the U.S. have criminal records as have graduated from four-year colleges.
Journalist and Yale Law lecturer Emily Bazelon attributes America’s high incarceration rates to prosecutors more than judges. She says that in the 1980s, when crime was on the rise, legislators across the country passed laws with mandatory minimum sentences that have disproportionately affected black and brown communities.
“That set up prosecutors to be able to determine the punishment by the charge they bring in,” Bazelon says. “And so we’re still living with that change — even though crime has really fallen since that time.”
Bazelon notes that the majority of court cases — more than 90 percent — end in a plea bargain rather than a trial, which gives prosecutors even more power.
It’s just not right that crime is literally falling, but our incarceration rates are skyrocketing. Even worse, the prison system is a for profit system.
I like this interview, as it shows how people end up in jail because they are poor.
One good note in the interview is if you want to end unfair mass incarcerations, vote in a prosecutor that agrees. That one election can change lives.