For me, this issue is quite personal. When I was a young man, my dad’s life was taken in a senseless robbery in downtown Greensboro.  His death was a shock to the community and our family; it has forever left us with a deep sense of loss, anger and confusion.  His shooting was a random act of violence involving two men, whom we later learned had just prior been released due to over-crowded prisons. We discovered that the shooter had a criminal record of violent offenses a mile long, and he had spent a great deal of his life in “corrections.”  For several years now, in an effort to make sense of the world around me, I have been studying prison reform and efforts to reduce recidivism across our country. I have met with some of the leading minds in this field and follow their work closely. After all I have learned, I can tell you that there is not a whole lot of correcting going on. I often wonder if we did things differently, and continually listened to the leading minds in our country that have devoted their lives to this issue, that perhaps, just maybe, we would still have my father with us.

Together, we must end the era of mass incarceration, reform mandatory minimum sentences, end private prisons, encourage the use of smart strategies—like police body cameras—and end racial profiling to rebuild trust between law enforcement and communities.


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