Dear Next President:
Did you know that nearly 20% of all the world’s prisoners are currently situated in the continental United States (according to The Washington Post)? Mass incarceration was a good thing back in the 1970s, when there was a massive drop in crime rates as a direct result of imprisonment; however, now it’s proven to be a major problem. Now, it does little to stem the flow of crimes, while it does much damage to any family who has a member in prison. Incarceration is a good thing in moderation, but the laws surrounding it need to be changed.
As the Aljazeera webpage about incarceration states, around .8% of the United States population is currently behind bars, at least a third of which are in for minor drug charges. These people are somebody’s fathers, mothers, wives or husbands. Taking them away from their families can leave a major impact on children, especially. Many of these people are in prison because of the Mandatory-Minimum rule set in place in our law enforcement system, which makes it mandatory for anyone who commits a certain crime to be put under some form of punishment (ex. 5-10 yrs for a drug charge.) I am not proposing that we completely rid ourselves of that rule; however it should be changed to the point where more minor charges are met with much less serious punishments, such as parole.
A great example of how minor drug charges lead to imprisonment would be a personal story of mine. Around the time I was born, my biological mother was imprisoned for possession of illegal substances. As a direct result of that, My sister and I were forced to undergo adoption and separate from our biological family. If laws surrounding incarceration had been a lot less harsh at that point, maybe we could have grown up knowing our biological mother.
Some people believe that any person who commits crimes should be imprisoned. Anyone who commits crimes should be punished in one way or another; however the system should be less severe to those who aren’t harming others intentionally. For minor charges, imprisonment for long periods of time should not be mandatory.
As president, it is your job to insure the people remain satisfied. Nothing would satisfy families more than knowing they won't be split apart by their own law enforcement. You need to insure this by changing the laws involving incarceration and making the system less severe.
Sincerely, Jacob L.