When Hillary Clinton announced that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population compared to just 5% of the world’s total population, the fact checkers were out in force to corroborate the numbers. Not only did these statistics turn out to be correct, but it also revealed that there are more people in prisons today despite record low crime rates. Bold Business looks into the US prison system, incarceration rates, and what can be done to tackle this issue.

According to the World Prison Population List, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, at roughly 716 people out of every 100,000. Results show that more than half the 222 countries studied were below 150 per 100,000 people.

Considering these results, policymakers, lawyers and experts up and down the country have been looking at viable solutions to improving America’s prison system and bringing it in-line with the modern age.

Impact NY have done just that and after researching and preparing with experts, they hosted a debate on how America should reinvent its prisons and corrections system for our current age.

Impact Prisons holds regular six-month projects dedicated to educating the public on the United States Prison System and Criminal Justice Reform. The initiative aims to support intelligent and hopefully transformative improvements to the criminal justice system.

Incarceration Rates - US Prison SystemThe 2016-17 project culminated in a public event held in New York City where top speakers and experts from Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Neuroscience took part in discussions aimed at improving the system.

The entire project received top flight support from Columbia University’s Tamer Center for Social Enterprise and Harvard University’s Department of Economics, and provided a balanced look at the prison system, and what is needed for reform.

Two topics discussed during the Impact Prisons 2017 forum, were the overwhelming disparity between black and white inmates, and the dramatic increase in the number of women in incarceration.

According to The Sentencing Project, African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at more than five times the rate of whites, and at least ten times that rate in five states. What’s more, over the past 25 years, there has been an increase in women in prisons, which now stands at eight times higher than its population count in 1980.

Policymakers say these rises are the result of an increased law enforcement presence (some who specifically target people of race or color), tighter sentencing laws, and post-conviction barriers to re-entry that affect only women.

Policymakers state that the only way to combat these startling figures is not only through legal reform but by a complete overhaul of the prison system and police forces, right across America.

Check out part two of our prisons series to learn more about how changes to America’s criminal justice system will improve prisons, change laws and reform the legal system.

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