ICYMI: Accounting for Violence: How to Increase Safety and Break Our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration
Date:  03-28-2017

Report: Mass Incarceration Cannot End Violence
From Vera Institute of Justice:

The United States faces two distinct but interconnected challenges: violence and mass incarceration. Ensuring safety is an urgent and essential responsibility of a society and is a core dimension of delivering on the promise of justice. The United States has been remiss in attempts to fulfill that responsibility because of an overreliance on incarceration as the primary pathway to ensuring safety. Substantially reducing violence will require acknowledging the limitations of prisons as a strategy to deliver safety or justice. And ending mass incarceration in America will require taking on the question of violence.

Mass incarceration cannot end violence.

We cannot incarcerate our way out of violence. That is in part because incarceration is an inadequate and often counterproductive tool to transform those who have committed violence or protect those who have been harmed. It is neither the most effective way to change people nor the most effective way to keep people safe. Its standing in society is based largely on its role in protecting people from violence and those who commit it, but as a violence intervention strategy, it fails to deliver the outcomes all people deserve — at great human and financial cost. Increasingly, this message is being sounded not only by justice reformers, but by crime survivors themselves. Prison is also limited as a tool because incarceration treats violence as a problem of “dangerous” individuals and not as a problem of social context and history. Most violence is not just a matter of individual pathology— it is created. Poverty drives violence. Inequity drives violence. Lack of opportunity drives violence.3 Shame and isolation drive violence. And like so many conditions known all too well to public health professionals, violence itself drives violence. Continue reading >>>