7 million Americans are under correctional supervision. The United States of America has the highest documented rate of incarceration in the world. Too many people are in prison, and in many cases the current system doesn’t work. It is inefficient, inhumane, and does not accomplish rehabilitation. It also costs too much – financially as well as in terms of human suffering – the current $74 billion spent each year does not include either other incalculable associated costs or the far greater future resulting social and financial consequences.
There are alternatives and they work better and cost less. We will listen to experts on several aspects of incarceration, and will explore and discuss such questions as alternatives to incarceration programs, race and incarceration, drugs and incarceration, incarceration and the mentally ill, collateral consequences, probation, and children of incarcerated parents.
Students will give a class presentation and write one essay.