Prison reform has been a hot topic in the media. With documentaries being aired on Netflix, and celebrity influencers raising awareness to the topic, it is extremely difficult to turn a blind eye to the issue that needs addressing. There have been countless individuals who have been serving sentences to only later be deemed wrongly accused, as well as sentences handed down which were too severe in comparison to the crime. However, there have been very few, if any, changes to the system that has affected so many.
Though criminal justice reform is needed, we should be cautious to what and whom we are getting our information from. There are several prison reform organizations who are seeking to make changes. But these changes aren’t being met without a fight. Both sides can be found presenting statistics to better serve their argument. “Activist research goes beyond participatory research in that the researcher is not only vested in the outcome of the research, but may be pushing a certain value set through their research” (PSU, WC). What I often see with a lot of the activist’s groups is the tendency to resort back to race. Yes, race does attract attention and that is what activists are seeking (attention for their cause). In order to raise awareness, one must get the attention of the audience. However, I believe this takes light away from the major problem of rehabilitating ALL inmates.
The United States is home to one of the world’s largest prison population.The populations in prisons do show a racial disparity which can be contributed to many factors.We should focus on addressing why all individuals are incarcerated, in hopes for changes in policies to tackle the root of the problem. This social change will be a collaborative effort and will need to utilize all methods for an affective resolution.