By Robert A. Vella
There are 2.3 million people behind bars in America. That’s more than any other nation, and it represents the highest rate of incarceration in the developed world. Half of these sentences were for non-violent offenses. The costs associated with this failed social policy are staggering. Human lives are being ruined, families and communities are being devastated, and the growing financial burden is pressuring states to find alternative solutions.
The new Frontline documentary Prison State that aired last night on PBS explores the cases of four individuals in Louisville, Kentucky – a state which spends half a billion dollars on incarceration – who have become trapped inside the system with no viable way of turning their lives around.