“If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem,” the GOP senator claimed Thursday.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is criticizing efforts to reform America’s criminal justice system, arguing on Thursday that the country actually has an “under-incarceration problem” — even though the U.S. has the world’s largest prison population.
Cotton gave a speech on criminal justice Thursday at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. During his remarks, he argued that policy goals like reducing mandatory minimum sentences, restoring voting rights for felons and reducing barriers to employment for ex-offenders are misguided and “dangerous.”
“The claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact: For the vast majority of crimes, a perpetrator is never identified or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted and jailed,” Cotton said. “Law enforcement is able to arrest or identify a likely perpetrator for only 19 percent of property crimes and 47 percent of violent crimes. If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem.”
America holds roughly 5 percent of the world’s population and boasts 25 percent of its prison population. Something like 2.2 million people are currently imprisoned in this country. Our per capita incarceration rate is 750 per 100,000 – only Russia comes close to that at 450 per 100,000. For African-American males, it’s nearly 4,000 per 100,000.