Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal Justice Reform is an issue that has gained traction in a bipartisan fashion over the past decade. It is becoming increasingly important to look critically at whether the system is truly working. Each year, the government spends upwards of $80 billion per year on imprisonment. Since nearly 75% of inmates are incarcerated for nonviolent, mostly drug related crimes and prison overcrowding has become increasingly pervasive, policymakers began to see that new approaches were needed.

Criminal justice reforms are now taking hold on both a state level as well as federally. Across the nation, states with a historically “tough on crime” attitude have undertaken reforms to reduce the number of incarcerated citizens, including several states in the notoriously harsh Deep South. And on the federal level, there is a bipartisan effort to help non-violent offenders.

Criminal Justice Reform

Point

Proponents of reform believe that our prisons are overcrowded and that we shouldn't be putting people in jail for nonviolent drug crimes. Other types of reform have included civil asset forfeiture, legalization of medical marijuana, and drug treatment programs. There has also been talk on demilitarizing police forces and passing legislation for body cameras for police.

Counter

Opponents of reform have been critical of putting convicted criminals back on the streets and making our drug problem worse. Many believe that this will lead to increased crime. Opponents also believe that taking away police tools through demilitarization will lead to a demoralized and ill-equipped police force.