America’s justice system is fundamentally broken. We have an expensive and outmoded system for punishing those who break the law by locking them up often for long periods and in inhumane circumstances. The system is full of bias, some of it unintentional but no less institutionalized. We spend taxpayer dollars to jail people for failure to pay small fines or for minor drug offenses, many of which are no longer even illegal. We must distinguish between dangerous offenders and small and first time offenses, make better use of alternative sentences, remember to temper justice with mercy, and assist those who have done their time to re-enter our communities.

The U.S. has 20% of the world’s prison population despite having only 5% of the global population.  Since 1980, our prison population has increased 236%. Blacks and Hispanics comprise 56% of the prison population even though these minorities represent only 32% of the national population. This racial disparity is real, the result of deeply embedded prejudices, deliberate criminal justice policies, and other government policies and practices .  We have chronically underfunded programs that could steer youth away from trouble, even though we know that doing so saves money and improves public safety.

Any meaningful effort to end our 50-year tradition of mass incarceration has to address the complete incarceration lifecycle.


We must overhaul our criminal justice system, restore justice, end mass incarceration, and focus on rehabilitation.




Prevent criminal behavior

  • Increase education, training, and opportunities.

  • Invest in early interventions.

Ensure fair safe humane procedures

  • Oppose Stop and Frisk; limit random stops.

  • Support body cameras.

  • Improve police recruitment and training.

Guarantee due process

  • Fully fund public defenders.

  • Eliminate mandatory minimums.

  • Set reasonable bail.

  • End incarceration for fines.

  • Seek alternatives to incarceration for parents.

  • Support alternatives to jail.

  • Free people in jail for offenses that are no longer illegal.

Improve conditions in jails

  • End solitary confinement.

  • Support family visits.

  • Ensure medical and mental health care.

  • Offer education and training.

Fully support reintegration into society

  • Reform bail processes.

  • Sponsor job programs.

  • Maintain therapy and drug treatment.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.