What we are doing is not working. We must completely reframe our approach to the American criminal justice system because it’s expensive, unfair, ineffective, and has been a destructive force in many people’s lives for decades. In almost every category — including the apprehension, prosecution, defense, sentencing, and punishment of Americans suspected or convicted of criminal offenses — we are failing miserably.
In particular, we need to reassess this nation's chronic focus on punitive measures over rehabilitative ones. In this country, some people believe that those who break the law must pay and pay big for their egregious actions. But is being right more important than being smart? You know, maybe people are 100% right when they say that "criminals" should rot in jail for their transgressions.
But then what? Then they would be right — congratulations — but their being right in no way offers a tangible solution for how we are going to alter the course going forward. If people just sit and rot in jail, we have even more households with lost income, adults progressively losing earning power, kids without parents, and on and on and on. That makes zero sense to us.