Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Empty Chairs

Why was criminal justice not an issue in the presidential debates? After all, there are over two million people in jail or prison in America. Add in probation and parole, and the total number under some form of correctional supervision is, in round numbers, a whopping seven million.

And in a John Donne, no-man-an-island sense, it doesn’t stop there. The families of inmates and probationers are also greatly affected by sentencing and corrections policy.

Indeed, so are we all, because we, as a society, set the sentences. Correctional officers and other justice system professionals are merely our proxies on the front lines.

Yet, as a recent column in the Huffington Post put it, on the issue of mass incarceration, there were two empty chairs at the presidential debates.

There are also empty chairs around many family tables because so many people are in prison.




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