The simple answer to the above question would appear to be, yes. Prisons are overcrowded, millions of free citizens live with years of probation hanging over their head, prisoner reform does not work, and the Courts and public defenders in many States are completely overwhelmed.
A Bipartisan group composed of lawyers, judges, lawmakers, and civil rights groups called the Constitution Project, have issued their suggestions for comprehensive overhaul of the criminal justice system. While there was not unanimous support for every recommendation, some of the proposed reforms include:
- Mandatory recordings of police interrogations
- Improvements to and increased financial aid to Public Defenders
- Increased efforts to improve prisoner reform and transition back into the world
- Push Congress to create a bipartisan criminal justice commission
- Evaluate and eliminate racial and ethnic disparity in criminal charges and sentencing
- Address the current conditions inside the prisons
The criminal justice and prison system is in dire straits and is unlikely to change any time soon. The unfortunate reality is that politicians do not win votes by assisting prisoners and criminal defendants.