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Criminal justice reform in the United States

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Criminal justice reform in the United States

Criminal justice reform in the United States is a type of reform aimed at fixing perceived errors in the criminal justice system. Goals of such reform include decreasing the United States' prison population and reducing prison sentences and eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenders. Although originally a mainly liberal cause, the criminal justice reform movement has attracted support from members of the Republican Party beginning in the early 2010s. This has led to a significant amount of bipartisan agreement among American politicians in favor of criminal justice reform, making it one of few issues on which many politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties agree.



Arguments that have been advanced in support of criminal justice reform include that the prison population of the United States costs about $80 billion per year to maintain. Supporters of this type of reform also argue that the War on Drugs has been a failure. Conservatives who support criminal justice reform are also often concerned about the fiscal and moral impacts of mass incarceration.


In 2015 a number of reformers, including the ACLU, the Center for American Progress, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Koch family foundations, the Coalition for Public Safety, and the MacArthur Foundation, announced a bipartisan resolution to reform the criminal justice system in the United States. Their efforts were lauded by President Obama who noted these reforms will improve rehabilitation and workforce opportunities for those who have served their sentences.


The proposed reforms have been criticized by some who claim the reforms are driven primarily by cost benefit analysis and recidivism, not a concern for justice and human rights, including sociologist Marie Gottschalk, who stated "cost-benefit analysis is one of the principal tools of the neoliberal politics on which the carceral state is founded."


In 2016, it was reported that Britain was considering reforming its own criminal justice system in similar ways that Texas had done so in recent years.


Criminal justice reform in the United States Wikipedia

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