The president wants Congress this year to approve a reform, which in his opinion should have three main elements: preventive actions via investment in education, a reform of the juvenile justice system and an end to prison overcrowding. “We can’t close our eyes anymore”, he said in the July 14 speech.

The former president said at the convention of the NAACP civil rights group in Philadelphia that the bill came after a “roaring decade of rising crime”. The organization works in support of racial equality throughout the United States.

“Law and order” campaigns have a sordid history in the United States, with politicians exploiting people’s fears to maximize political advantage. It’s not keeping us as safe as we should be. It is not as fair as it should be. “Mass incarceration makes our country worse off and we need to do something about it”.

Earlier this week, he commuted the sentences of 46 non-violent drug offenders, 14 of whom had been serving life in prison.

At $80 billion, the budget for prisons represents a third of the Department of Justice’s annual spending. This is a method of punishment where prisoners are placed alone in small rooms for long periods. “You should not remain silent when it comes to solitary confinement”. I have become a better, more organized, more business-minded, more mature person. In her 2010 New York Times best-seller The New Jim Crow, civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander detailed how more black Americans are in prison or jail, or on probation or parole, than were enslaved in 1850.

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. Their sentences were reduced or cancelled.

The impact is still unfolding, though rehabilitation programs need to expand and improve, and it appears that vehicle theft and some other property crimes are increasing. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this week spent two days examining the criminal justice system. The minimum time in prison for such crimes is much higher than for crimes related to regular cocaine.

“My goal is that we start seeing some improvements at the federal level and we’re then able to see states across the country pick up the baton”, Obama said. “You don’t owe a life sentence”. Clinton said there were a lot of people “who were essentially locked up who were minor actors for way too long”.

These sentencing practices have helped make America the world’s leader in locking up its citizens. Conservative GOP Senators Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Kentucky), Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and John Cornyn (Texas) are working with Senate Democrats to create legislation that will implement some of the reforms President Obama is advocating.

“In recent years, the eyes of more Americans have been opened to this truth, partly because of cameras, partly because of tragedy, partly because the statistics can not be ignored”. And we shouldn’t be making jokes about it in our popular culture.

Now it’s your turn. According to the ACLU, 88 percent of marijuana arrests are for possession-not people trying to sell drugs but trying to use them.