A study called What Caused the Crime Decline released by the Brennan Centre for Justice finds that mass incarceration with long and harsh sentences does not reduce crime.
What Caused the Crime Decline? examines one of the nation’s least understood recent phenomena – the dramatic decline in crime nationwide over the past two decades – and analyzes various theories for why it occurred, by reviewing more than 40 years of data from all 50 states and the 50 largest cities. It concludes that over-harsh criminal justice policies, particularly increased incarceration, which rose even more dramatically over the same period, were not the main drivers of the crime decline.
The USA spent $80 billion in 2010 incarcerating people according to a recent article by Vice News called It’s Time to Kick America’s Addiction to Incarceration. The article was written by Michael K. Williams and looks at the USA’s system of incarceration and the costs to the people involved and the country.
Ruining people’s lives for small, nonviolent offenses tied to drug use, drug addiction, or mental illness is not the way to go.