Mass incarceration in middle America

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Prison reform is reducing inmate populations from big America cities — but, in many suburbs and rural communities, it's just the reverse. The same crimes that call for probation or just months in jail in Cincinnati, Ohio, are leading to years in prison in nearby Dearborn County, Indiana. The new convicts are not Latinos and African Americans, imprisoned disproportionately for so many years. They're part of the white middle class. One reason is the addiction to prescription drugs that's created a new market for cheap heroin and the crime that goes with it. It's also due to the punitive use of discretion by prosecutors and judges -- raising new questions about equal treatment under the law.




Warren Olney