When tough-on-crime laws passed 30 years ago during an era of drug-fueled violence, they were supported across the political spectrum. The subsequent "war on drugs" sent non-violent offenders to prison for decades and, in some cases, life.
As a result, the nation's prison and jail population today is 2.3 million, more than quadruple the number that were incarcerated in 1980. One in 100 adults is behind bars in America. As many as 100 million American adults now have criminal records, and a disproportionate number of those are men of color.
Washington Post reporters, in a series of revealing and wrenching stories throughout 2015, unlocked the prison gates and allowed listeners to experience the human devastation wrought by sentencing policies now under scrutiny.
"Several reporters at the Washington Post have filed insightful stories in recent years about the actual repercussions of drug trade suppression laws on the most disenfranchised members of civic life. The extreme prison sentences meted out to low-level illicit drug dealers and the prison conditions they experience form the thematic base of the collection. James Edward Thomas reads the reports with aplomb and without offering any auditory cues between the reporters' own words and the sources quoted. This is a basic introduction to some major flaws in the legal system that do indeed prevent it from purveying justice. (AudioFile Magazine)
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