But, Fathi said, Obama deserves credit for being the first president to visit a federal prison and use his position to draw attention to the flawed system.

PHOTO: US President Barack Obama, Charles Samuels, right, Bureau of Prisons Director, and Ronald Warlick, left, a correctional officer, looks at a prison cell as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, July 16, 2015, in El Reno, Okla. Criminal justice reform will help spend taxpayer dollars more wisely.

President Obama toured the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in Oklahoma on Thursday and met with six inmates.

On his way out as attorney general for the Obama administration, Eric Holder said the federal prison population had recently decreased for the first time in three decades.

Not to mention, even if he were eligible, it would be political suicide for the Democratic party if President Obama pardoned Kilpatrick after a short stint in prison. And we shouldn’t be making jokes about it in our popular culture. But these are human beings. “And that is something we all have to think about”.

During his visit to El Reno prison in Oklahoma, Obama will advocate for fairer sentencing and better professional integration for former inmates, among other measures.

The president said there must be a distinction between young people “doing stupid things” and violent criminals. “It’s not what happens in other countries”. Half a million people were behind bars in 1980, a figure that has since quadrupled to its current total of more than 2.2 million inmates – the highest rate of incarceration in the world.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling forced California to confront prison overcrowding.

Clinton said in April that she would push for an end to the “era of mass incarceration”.

Black and Latino Americans represent 60 per cent of the prison population while around 30 per cent of prisoners are white.

Prisons are big business, and they are draining the resources of states and eating away funds for education, infrastructure and programs of social uplift.

Several states, including Oklahoma, have enacted reforms.

“I dealt with thousands of prisoners for years and had they had the opportunity in the community, they would be there in them”, said Pitzer.

“We’ve got a lot of people in prison, frankly, that really in my view really don’t need to be there”, said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. We will, instead, just keep repeating the same old mistakes over and over again – and needlessly ruining countless lives in the process. It has a decent chance of passing, as Congress has previously moved to reduce the disparities given to people for distributing crack and cocaine.

Obama’s trip to Oklahoma highlighted a week in which both Democrats and Republicans, including Governor Christie, gave policy speeches in support of criminal justice reforms and, in particular, reducing sentences and seeking treatment for non-violent drug offenders.