With 2.3 million Americans in prison, the U.S has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Prisons and jails have become the new repository for the poor, uneducated and people with mental illness. The U.S. prison population has expanded at an unprecedented rate over the last 40 years.
Over the last 30 years the population of the prison system has increased exponentially, nearly 800 percent, largely due to the over-representation of those convicted of drug offenses, many of whom are low-level and non-violent offenders. 66% of inmates are doing time on drug related charges. It costs approximately $25,000 a year to incarcerate a low-level non-violent offender as an inmate and that’s only if she or he is in good health, after all court cost have been completed. It cost approximately $75,000 a year to incarcerate a violent offender as an inmate and court cost can even sometimes reach $1,000,000 after all appeals have been exhausted.
The urgent challenge for each of us and for our nation is to prevent this waste of our children’ lives and our nation’s capabilities. Prevention programs can work; good prevention programs that are well-implemented do work. Early intervention and rehabilitation that put children onto a path to productive adulthood, long term solutions to prevent years of crime. Founder Robert Lopez lays out his plans to equip at risk youth for the upcoming legalization of cannabis.
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