The Problem

Imprisonment is Not the Answergrace2

There are millions of people in the United States suffering the impact of a felony conviction. When you add the number of family members that also suffer from having a loved one either currently incarcerated or trying to re-enter society, that number moves into the thousands of millions!

Imprisonment or conviction on a felony charge should not result in a lifelong violation of our basic rights as human beings, nor should our family members have their rights abused.

The punishment system is devastating and disrupting, particularly in under-resourced communities of color. After two generations of the American Drug War, people are suffering far more than when it began. Over 2 million children have a parent behind bars and 10 million children have had a parent in prison at some point in their lives. With the explosion of criminalization in 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, we have entire school systems impacted by parental incarceration or parents facing discrimination as a result of a conviction history.

Society’s reliance on prisons and punishment does not make our communities safer. The warehousing of human beings, mostly people of color, is an unacceptable substitute for social programs. Prisons are not a substitute for mental health care and jails are not housing for the homeless.