Over the past few years, statistics on how the U.S. justice system is failing its citizens have come fast and hard. With more than 2 million people detained in jails and prisons, we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world—a rate that’s increased 500% in the past five decades Possibly as many as 482,000 people currently held in local jails are there simply because they’re too poor to pay bail; they haven’t been convicted of a crime.
African Americans are three times more likely to be killed by police than White people, and Black men have a 1-in-3 chance of being imprisoned at some point in their lifetimes. And two-thirds of those who’ve been incarcerated are rearrested within three years of their release.
But change is afoot. A wide range of justice-focused nonprofits, legal advocates, academics, and activists are developing and implementing concepts that, together, form a radically different vision of what crime and punishment could look like in the United States.
Re-visioning means thinking big, and these groups are working toward a wholly new framework: one that gives people and communities what they actually need. Instead of continued neglect, low-income communities get resources they’ve identified as priorities. In the place of Miranda warnings, plea deals, and prison cells are truth-telling, accountability, and forgiveness. And pain—which lies at the heart of so many of the crimes that currently wind up before the justice system—is met with love, transformation, and healing.
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