Correcting the record on conservative criminal justice reform

The United States holds less than 5% of the world’s population, but it houses a quarter of the world’s prisoners. For this, critics have given us the unflattering moniker of the “incarceration nation.” And if the U.S. is the incarceration nation, then Mississippi is a strong contender to be its capital, with what is now the second highest incarceration rate in the country.

Mississippi’s prison population comes at a substantial cost. In the last 10 years, the legislature has appropriated over $3.2 billion to the Department of Corrections. Even still, our prison system has been plagued by scandal, lawsuits, and deplorable conditions that culminated in a string of violent deaths and President Trump’s Department of Justice launching an investigation. A similar investigation in Alabama forced our neighbors to invest an additional billion dollars into their prisons.