Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sen. Webb's call for prison reform

This came from a NY Times editorial piece that ran yesterday.

I have long been an advocate for prison reform and based on circumstances in my personal life, am becoming much more personally involved, to the point that I will forego my work with the homeless in order to be an effective advocate for prisoners and their rights.

Senator Webb, like many of us, is concerned with the large number of incarcerated individuals who are non violent offendors, mainly drug charges.

Given the large number of requests at the Justice Department (see my earlier post from today), some 2,000 individuals are seeking clemency for various sentences from President Bush.

Here is an excerpt from the article, but as always - I encourage you to visit the actual story and read it: "The United States has the world’s highest reported incarceration rate. Although it has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, it has almost one-quarter of the world’s prisoners. And for the first time in history, more than 1 in 100 American adults are behind bars."

This is a disturbing fact and we should all be alarmed - more than 1 in 100 Americans behind bars. What on earth do we think will continue to happen in our society if these individuals are let out of prison and have no jobs or other opportunities for vocational training and the like to of which to avail themselves?

As long as societies continue to marginalize the weakest, we will have such statistics.

I am with Senator Webb - let's make a change happen and soon.

Let us hope that with the Obama administration, we can look for that change.

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