Speed Reads

criminal justice reform

69 percent of Americans think we imprison way too many people

The U.S. has the world's highest incarceration rate, and the ACLU recently commissioned a poll to examine public attitudes on it. They found that majorities of both political parties (54 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of independents, and 81 percent of Democrats) agree that it's "important" to reduce the prison population. Sixty-nine percent of all Americans held that view.

In addition, fully 87 percent of respondents said that drug addicts and the mentally ill should be in treatment, not prison, while 77 percent said prisons are likely to cause nonviolent criminals to re-offend due to poor rehabilitation techniques.

Remarkably, there was even majority support for the idea that the prison system is not effectively protecting the citizenry from crime. Fifty-eight percent said reducing the prison population would help communities by freeing up funds for rehabilitation, treatment, and crime prevention. The full results can be found here.