Mass Incarceration Makes You and Your Children Less Safe

The bottom line is imprisoning too many people for too long makes all our cities, neighborhoods, and families less safe.

Violent criminals like rapists and murderers make up only a fraction of a fraction of a percentage of all convicts. So how do we incarcerate as few people as possible, but not fewer?

1. Non-Violent, Non-Sexual, Non-Serious

The next lowest hanging fruit for making our communities safer is to stop imprisoning the Non’s — non-violent, non-serious, non-sexual offenders.

2. Non-Violent Recidivists

It might be a surprise but 46% of prisoners are there due to non-violent breaking of their parole or probation. This is called recidivism and it represents the next low hanging fruit for reducing the prison population. The problem is not the parolee’s, the problem is the antiquated and sometimes darkly backward parole and probation system itself.

3. The Mentally Ill

In a 2006 Special Report, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) estimated that 705,600 mentally ill adults were incarcerated in state prisons, 78,800 in federal prisons and 479,900 in local jails — a total of 1,264,300 or roughly half of our total 2.6M prisoners. How can this be?

4. Drug Addiction is an Illness

Trafficking drugs is a crime, being addicted to drugs is an illness. Drug addiction (including alcoholism) can and should be treated and managed with medication, therapy, and monitoring.

5. (Not so) Violent Crimes and the Opportunity for Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is a powerful and transformative process where victims and perpetrators have dialogue and perpetrators are required to make the victims and society whole rather than just rot in a cell.

6. Legalization, Prevention, and Education

We’ve talked about existing prisoners, but let’s go back to the causes of the problem of imprisonment: crime. How do we reduce crime?

Staying Safe

The reason we have prisons is to make society safer right? Its to take the bad people and either reform them or remove them.



Educator, Founder, Engineer. Interested in Evidence Based Education and Solving BIG Problems.

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Educator, Founder, Engineer. Interested in Evidence Based Education and Solving BIG Problems.