For an earlier post on mass incarceration and family issues, a number of commenters brought up and debated specific reform ideas. To me it was an unusually strong thread. Today George Will’s WaPo column adds something that I don’t think we discussed earlier: the use and over-use of solitary confinement. Final sentences in Will’s op-ed:
Mass incarceration is expensive (California spends almost twice as much on prisons as on universities) and solitary confinement costs, on average, three times as much per inmate as in normal prisons. And remember: Most persons now in solitary confinement will someday be back on America’s streets, some of them rendered psychotic by what are called correctional institutions.
Mass incarcertation as a widely recognized national failure is an issue that is coming. I’m not sure when it will break into the mainstream debate in a sustained way, but I’m pretty sure that it will happen.