(AUSTIN, Texas) — We applaud Sheriff Greg Hamilton’s recognition that our criminal justice system is “not functioning as it should” as he called today for more to be done to end mass incarceration. Specifically, the sheriff said that the United States spends too much money incarcerating too many people, and the result does not increase public safety. Indeed, according to the NAACP, $70 billion are spent yearly on corrections. This expensive criminal justice system does not serve taxpayers and disproportionately impacts people of color. Read more about Grassroots Leadership applauds efforts to reduce mass incarceration in Travis County
"Mass incarceration continues to trend. As Heather Thompson, professor of history at the University of Michigan and leading scholar on the Attica prison rebellion, told Truthout, 'Three years ago to talk about incarceration was like you were talking Latin.' No more.
For those who have been decrying US incarceration rates and exposing the prison industrial complex for decades, the new terrain is simultaneously promising, challenging and confusing. Bob Libal, head of Grassroots Leadership in Texas and a long-time opponent of private prisons, calls it a 'window of opportunity.' Marc Mauer, director of the prominent progressive think tank The Sentencing Project, told Truthout there is 'room to work together without having to give up core beliefs,' noting that 'we may part ways [with conservatives] down the road.' By contrast, Naomi Murakawa, author of The First Civil Right, which chronicles the leading role played by Democrats in prison expansion, said she expects 'little or no break' in the mindset and practice of 'hunting and caging' people." Read more about Bipartisan Unity on Mass Incarceration: Opportunity or Sidetrack for Movement Building?
On April 16, 2014 the Charles Koch Institute and Mediaite hosted Rule of Law: How the Criminal Justice System Impacts Well-Being, a panel discussion in Austin, TX, which sought to foster discussion focused on the impacts of mass incarceration on our society. For an event branded by Koch — the family name notorious for their mutli-billion dollar conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc. and pro-free market and privatization ideology — the discussion around the for-profit, private prison industry was an interesting one.Read more about Koch Institute mass incarceration panelists call out private prisons