+How can the next president reduce our nation’s prison populations?
America leads the world in incarceration, with an estimated 1.5 million people held in state and federal prisons at the end of 2014. But while both Republicans and Democrats agree that the system needs change — with both parties on board to pass criminal-justice reform this year — the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act foundered in the Senate this summer.
What is the first step the next president should take to reduce the number of incarcerated Americans? Is action through executive power an acceptable route? What other avenues for reform might the next administration explore?
Hilary O. Shelton is director of the NAACP Washington bureau and senior vice president for policy and advocacy. Inimai Chettiar is director of the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.
When our next president enters the Oval Office, she or he will be faced with two questions: First, how to make a mark as president? Second, how to break through gridlock in Congress?