Sometimes, a sea change takes place in the minds of the public, elected officials and media pundits. Long overdue, that seems to be underway now with regard to the American prison system and the war on drugs.
For decades, politicians competed to see who could be tougher on crime – who was more in favor of locking up the most people for the longest stretches – and the public and media, for the most part, cheered them on. Now even Attorney General Eric Holder has called mass incarceration a moral and economic failure. What happened?
Tireless activists, educators and authors happened: not least of them Michelle Alexander, whose hugely influential book The New Jim Crow was championed by Truthout. But I’m proud to say I believe that Truthout’s own reporting also played a part in this shift.
From Victoria Law’s coverage of long-term solitary confinement in California, to Dina Rasor’s columns on prison privatization, to Maya Schenwar’s deeply personal accounts of the cruel effects of imprisonment on human beings, we’ve treated this as an important issue for years.
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