As Americans, we enjoy many freedoms, rights and privileges that citizens of other countries can only dream about. Still, in recent decades, millions of U.S. citizens have been subjected to harsh treatment by the U.S. criminal justice system. Today, the U.S. jail and prison population has ballooned to the unfathomable figure of roughly 2.2 million.
The harsh penalties and mandatory minimum sentences widely favored and implemented during the 1980s and 1990s are largely to blame for the 500 percent increase in the U.S. prison population since 1975. The vast majority of legislation passed during these decades focused on punishing drug and other nonviolent offenders. Today, incarceration rates in the U.S. far exceed those of any other country in the world.
The problem has gotten so out of hand that reforming the U.S. criminal justice system is now the one issue that's brought liberals, conservatives, libertarians and tea-party members together. Supported by member organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, FreedomWorks and the Faith and Freedom Coalition, The Coalition for Public Safety is committed to making "our criminal justice system smarter, fairer and more cost effective at the federal, state and local level."
Members of The Coalition for Public Safety vow to work collaboratively and across party and ideological lines to end the "overcriminalization and "overincarceration" problem. Current, society's answer to confronting many social and economic problems and injustices is to lock citizens up. Doing so, however, only serves to perpetuate and feed the problem as a criminal record serves as a roadblock to finding employment, housing and being an active citizen in one's community.
Unfortunately, until and unless reform occurs; residents in the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids area, who are arrested for drug charges, face harsh penalties. It's wise, therefore, to seek the advice and assistance of a criminal defense attorney.
Source: Communities Digital News, "Bi-Partisan Agreement: The criminal justice system is broken," Allen C. Brownfield, May 12, 2015