America's prison problem

Dealing with mass incarcerations

With more than two million people behind bars, a 500 percent increase since the mid-1970s, politicians on both sides of the aisle have come to agree that America has a prison problem.

Although there are no shortage of proposals for reform, most legislation focuses on low-level, nonviolent drug offenders. But significantly reducing mass incarceration requires a closer look at violent offenders, such as those convicted of murder, rape or kidnapping.

“If we let’s say legalize drugs tomorrow, let every drug offender out of prison and jail, we’d only get it down to about 1.7 million people still locked up. So we would still have a situation of mass incarceration,” says Marc Mauer, the Executive Director of the Sentencing Project.

On this week’s DecodeDC podcast—our 100th episode—guest host Emily Kopp sits down with Mauer, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Sean Walker, a former inmate who spent two decades behind bars, about what they see in the push for prison reform.

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