America faces a crisis of the soul- the impact of crime and incarceration on our nation’s institutions, communities and families. The criminal justice system consists of so many disparate components that it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. In the confusion, with the lives and well being of millions of citizens at risk, we are building a culture that threatens our deepest sense of humanity. What do we hope to achieve through this $70-billion plus a year operation? What does it say about our approach when we commit billions of “Second Chances” dollars to addressing obstacles created or exacerbated by the penal system while virtually ignoring the conditions that lead to criminal behavior? Under constant pressure from diverse interests, the criminal justice system has been tugged to and fro to accommodate the vain search for quick fixes by politicians, the emotions of crime victims, and the self-interest of vendors and suppliers (as factions endeavor to operate this system as a big business). What we have is a justice system built on legal technicalities that gives short shrift to the fundamental concept of fairness, and the plight of persons affected by the system.
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