Gawker media provides a report noting a change in the general demography of the prison population in the US. The Sentencing Project advocates the “changes in sentencing law and policy, not increases in crime rates, explain most of the six-fold increase in the national prison population. These changes have significantly impacted racial disparities in sentencing, as well as increased the use of ‘one size fits all’ mandatory minimum sentences that allow little consideration for individual characteristics” (taken directly from their Mission Statement on their website). Full text of the report is here and the link to further reports is here.
While there appear to be no set answers, it seems to an extent that disparities in sentencing seem to be changing. Yet, while I agree that criminals need to be punished for their crimes, my own work in the bureaucracy notes that even though people “serve their time” they are not often acquitted of their punishment even after release. It is further obvious that the most stern punishments are directed squarely at the socioeconomically weak.
Just some good food for thought as it has been this way for a long, long time in human history; it’s just nice to begin seeing the first steps to just and equal punishments.