The Forum: Does the United States Incarcerate Too Many People?

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The United States has the largest prison population of any western democracy. State governments spend a large percentage of tax dollars on incarceration. Some say the policies and costs are necessary to control crime; others decry sentencing laws as so much politics. Whatever the case, a disproportionate share of the prison populations are people of color. This Forum asks: What are the goals of incarceration? Are they well-served by present policies? Are there alternatives to incarceration that would be equally effective, or make more sense?

Rachel Barkow, Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst, The Heritage Foundation

Bryan Stevenson, Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

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