“Our needlessly abusive and unlawful practices in the ‘War on Terror’ have diminished our standing in the world community and made us less, rather than more, safe,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at the American Constitution Society 2008 Convention. “For the sake of our safety and security, and because it is the right thing to do, the next president must move immediately to reclaim America’s standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights.”

 

 

Why It Matters

The justice system prosecutes over 60,000 people a year...

 

 While courts discovered thousands of cases in which prosecutors had engaged in “outrageous” or “flagrant” misconduct, an examination of state bar records in USA Today revealed that few received any discipline, and the disciplines were petty, like being ordered to attend a one-day ethics workshop. 

 

 

 

 

Over-criminalization and prosecutorial abuse has been going on for decades...

 

...despite Congress passing a law in 1997 intended to curb abuses by federal prosecutors. According to the Huffington Post article, only over the last year or so, a number of high-profile stories have fostered discussion and analysis of prosecutorial power, discretion and accountability. 

 

According to JusticeFellowship.org, in addition to the near 4,500 statutory federal crimes, there are estimated to be between 100,000–300,000 federal regulations that may carry criminal penalties. Many of these laws make every day innocent actions subject to criminal prosecution. 

 

 

 

 

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world...

 

...with the population of inmates housed in prisons and jails exceeding two million, a 500% increase over the past 30 years. Half of all persons incarcerated under state jurisdiction are for non-violent offenses, and 20 percent are incarcerated for drug offenses. The length of time served in prison has increased strikingly over the last two decades. Many prisons are overcrowded, and so every year, over ten counties consider building new jails.

 

 

 

 

 

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