Open Thread Question of the Day: How Can We Fix Our Prisons?by Stephen Littau
Our prison system, holding nearly 25% of the worlds reported prisoners, may seem like an April fool’s joke but certainly is not a laughing matter. I’m in the early stages of writing a post in response to Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-VA) recent article in Parade entitled: Why We Must Fix Our Prisons.
Sen. Webb is looking for some recommendations on how to reform the prison system so I thought it would be interesting to solicit some ideas from readers and fellow Liberty Papers contributors. The following is the specific questions Sen. Webb wants to answer:
I am now introducing legislation that will create a national commission to look at every aspect of our criminal justice system with an eye toward reshaping the process from top to bottom. I believe that it is time to bring together the best minds in America to confer, report, and make specific recommendations about how we can reform the process. This commission will be tasked with giving us clear answers to hard questions, including:
Why are so many Americans currently in prison compared with other countries and our own history?
What is this policy costing our nation, both in tax dollars and in lost opportunities?
How can we reshape our nation’s drug policies?
How can we better diagnose and treat mental illness?
How can we end violence within prisons and increase the quality of prison administrators?
How can we build workable re-entry programs so that our communities can assimilate former offenders and encourage them to become productive citizens?
How can we defend ourselves against the growing scourge of violent, internationally based gang activity?
The more specific your answers, the better. I’ll refrain from posting here as I will answer these questions and more in my upcoming post.