The US locks up more people per capita, than any other country in the world and does so at significant financial detriment to taxpayers. The prison system is plagued by racial disparities that leave certain communities disproportionately burdened by the ripple effects of incarceration. Overcriminalization has led to the stacking of criminal charges for the same offense, meaning much longer prison sentences and higher fees. In recent years, these lengthy criminal sentences have meant geratric prison populations with needs the justice system is unprepared to handle.
Although there are many reasons for the epidemic of overcriminalization and mass incarceration, there can be little debate about where it all starts - with the passage of legislation that both defines criminal activitiy and establishes the sentencing penalties for that activity. Since 2018, we have released several reports analysizing this issue.