While mass incarceration remains a serious problem for Black and Brown folks in this country, we’re proud of President Barack Obama for continuing to implement criminal justice reform during his final hours in office.
According to the Marshall Project, the prison-debt cycle has been interrupted:
“The Obama administration Tuesday unveiled a new regulation that allows incarcerated parents to reduce their child-support payments while they are in prison. Currently support payments pile up, though the average wage for inmate labor is 20 cents an hour. Upon release, parents face accumulated debt and with it the temptation to return to crime.”
Reforms continue to happen at both the state and federal level. And philanthropists, like George Soros, have also joined the fight. Soros, a well-known support of progressive policies, spent $11 million to support “reform oriented” local district attorney candidates. This sort of comprehensive tactic – from Executive and Congressional orders, to state-action, to individual donors is what is needed to impact this multileveled issue. However, major concerns over other sorts of debt – including legal debt – remain, burgeoning a cycle that debilitates inmates even after serving time. Nevertheless, these are steps in the right direction and big ups to Soros, the Administration and the thousands of other men and women who fight tirelessly for criminal justice reform everyday.