To say the vast majority of people who are in American prisons do not belong there. Is a very bold statement and I’m not sure how someone would find the credible info to back up that claim. Or where they would go to come across it or perhaps not so much interested in credible info. But simply do not believe in prisons, perhaps are an Anarchist or some type of Neo-Leftist that believes all we need to do in hold each others hand or something. And understand why crimes are committed in the first place and for the people who still commit crimes, things like probation and supervised release is the way to deal with those offenders. I’m a Liberal and proud of it but as a Liberal we are taught to question authority. That doesn’t mean be against authority but simply question the authority of others who seek to direct you in some way. Their qualifications and legitimacy to lead you not questioning authority all together.
As a Liberal I also believe in what I call smart-power which is using power in an intelligent way. Which is simple enough right, that you need to be strong in order to defend yourself and protect, again I believe only Anarchists and Neo-Leftists would disagree with that. But its what you do with the power that you have that determines where you are strong or tough or not. Rather then using all of the power you have at the same time. Which means of course we need a powerful military to be able to defend ourselves and you need strong law enforcement capabilities and a corrections system that can deal with inmates in an effective responsible way. But to apply this to prisons, those capabilities and powers should only be applied to the inmates that we must have in prison. Because they represent a real threat and challenge to society. And must remain there until they are able to function in society without hurting people. We have roughly two million people in prison. Five hundred thousand or more of those inmates are there for some drug related offense, mostly for using or purchasing illegal narcotics. That tells me alone we have too many people in prison in America.
Perhaps another two hundred thousand of our inmates are in prison for other non violent crimes not having to do with illegal narcotics. Prostitution, gambling, scamming shoplifting dumb crimes like this, people who aren’t bad people necessarily. But people who in prison for being stupid who aren’t looking to hurt people but who are irresponsible and looking to make a fast buck. These are the inmates that shouldn’t be in prison at all and in drug rehab and halfway houses and their expense working and paying for their cost of living. While we save our prisons for the people who need to be there, or violent offenders especially.