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It’s Time to Get Serious About Prison Reform


It’s Time to Get Serious About Prison Reform

Talia Remba

As 2018 drew to a close, Congress passed, and President Trump signed, a historic bill called the First Step Act to begin reforming our broken criminal justice system, reducing sentences for some nonviolent drug offenders and enhancing rehabilitation programs in federal prisons. Some media have described the new legislation, which was enacted with the support of Democrats and many Republicans, as a “sweeping overhaul.” Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) more soberly dubbed it “a compromise of a compromise,” adding that there’s a great deal more to do. The U.S.


Prison should be only about loss of freedom–not the loss of dignity. The Norwegians have it right. There are some good documentaries online about their process and their greatly reduced recidivism rate.


Repeal the “exception clause” in the 13th amendment that allows “slavery [or] involuntary servitude … as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted …”

Note that Section 2 mandates Congress fund this Human Rights Violation.

13th Amendment

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


“By changing our approach to prisons from punishment to rehabilitation, our crime rate will drop and our neighborhoods will be safer.”
True, but this is capitalism, by using this method, prison companies would make less $$, and state run prisons would have to lay-off guards, we can’t have that.
In the US, “within 5 years of release, 3/4 of prisoners are rearrested, more than 1/2 by the end of the first year.”
Norway only has 16 % return to crime, and I bet their police don’t go out of their way to harass their ex-prisoners, arresting them for otherwise minor offences.


Thank you, Talia Remba, for a fine piece of work on an important subject. (I wish I had been as informed and concise, as an eighth grader, as you are.) I agree that it is an important piece of legislation but much more needs to be done on all levels of our criminal justice system. I hope someday we can eliminate prisons for profit, for example. If we are to have hope for the future, the love and compassion with which we treat one another must be all-inclusive. Keep up your caring, concern and good work.