Criminal justice reform has emerged as one of the most pressing issues of this election season. A new wave of reformers, alleging systematic racism in the criminal justice system, has taken issue with so-called “mass incarceration.” Some critics—from both the left and right—are proposing drastic cuts (on the order of 40–50%) to the nation’s prison population.
While there is room for modest reform to the criminal justice system, these sweeping proposals go too far—and would put public safety at risk. Claims that most of the newly released prisoners would be non-violent individuals or low-level drug offenders simply don’t withstand empirical scrutiny.
Manhattan Institute Fellow Rafael Mangual is one of the few willing to push back on this movement toward mass decarceration. Mangual argues that the data on incarceration depart signifi cantly from the prevailing narrative, and that following these policies to their logical conclusion would jeopardize public safety in many of America’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. Please join us for a much-needed discussion of these important issues.
Rafael Mangual is a fellow and deputy director of legal policy at the Manhattan Institute, and a contributing editor to City Journal.