… is a long-overdue topic for Congress to take on. Jim Webb introduced “The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009” to address the issue, and here’s a PDF of his Senate floor speech introducing the legislation.
From Webb’s speech:
Let’s start with a premise that I don’t think a lot of Americans are aware of. We have 5% of the world’s population; we have 25% of the world’s known prison population. We have an incarceration rate in the United States, the world’s greatest democracy, that is five times as high as the average incarceration rate of the rest of the world. There are only two possibilities here: either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States; or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice.
These numbers are simply shameful. All Americans ought to be embarrassed when reading this graf from Webb’s intro speech. I hope something tangible comes from this bill.