Understand America’s Addiction to Prison in 3 Minutes

Readers of my blog will know that human rights advocacy is central to my purpose on this planet. I’ve done advocacy around access to healthy food and education, as well as the importance of promoting safe communities. I’ve been migrating towards tackling poverty and socioeconomic inequality via criminal justice reform, and the following 3-minute video does a great job in showing why our current system only feeds the problem.

Just one statistic: 41% of American juveniles and young adults have been arrested by the time they’ve turned 23.

Didn’t Nelson Mandela say, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children”? Sounds like the American soul is rotting.

Before I turn you over to the video, I want to make one point about solitary confinement. The way the US does it, it’s torture.

If you find the video motivating, contact your elected officials to support reform measures such as the Smart Sentencing Act and the Second Chance Act, as well as the Redeem Act (which is currently on hold). Don’t forget to support state and local measures, too. I’m from California, and on this election’s ballot is an awesome proposition (47) that will mandate misdemeanors instead of felonies for non-serious, nonviolent crimes and create a Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund, among other smart-on-crime reforms.

The video is tough to swallow, but we can absolutely make a difference. Make your voice heard.


A common sight on DC streets are vendors of the Street Sense newspaper, sporting bright yellow vests. Street Sense empowers DC’s homeless by providing them with job training skills and income through the sale of the newspaper, as well as a professional and personal network of support.

The next time you see one of these vendors, consider buying a copy. It’s only $2, and I think the following article (and info-graphic) from the latest addition of Street Sense explains why this is an excellent investment. It’s not charity. It’s social change.

Working for street sense  - Oct 29, 2014, 17-49

Here are the stats:

I am working - Oct 29, 2014, 17-51