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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v5n38 (09/21/2006) » Section: The News, Briefly

...and Justice for All

America’s justice system is broken. The Land of the Free has roughly 2.03 million of its citizens behind bars, giving it one of the highest incarceration rates in the world today. What’s worse is that an estimated two-thirds of inmates released will be re-incarcerated within three years. Such high rates of reoffense, or recidivism, point to the inability of our prisons and correctional facilities to truly rehabilitate felons. Recidivism results in tremendous financial burdens for taxpayers—in terms of paying for the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of repeat offenders—and high social costs to the families and communities of felons. The upshot of all this is that we need to improve the system, and several alternative programs fitting under the umbrella term “restorative justice” are being introduced as part of the solution.

Remembering Darfur

Less than five months ago, in excess of 50,000 concerned Americans crowded the national lawn in Washington, DC, enthusiastically petitioning President Bush to lead the world in the cessation of genocide in Sudan. Speaker after speaker of household-name status, including Illinois Senator Barak Obama, former presidential hopeful Reverend Al Sharpton and actor George Clooney, addressed a highly energized audience. Buoyed by increasingly successful peace talks and the momentum of a near-constant presence of the Darfur cause in the national media, the April 30 rally was marked by a contagious optimism for the hope of lasting peace.

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