Obama Urges Major Criminal Justice Reforms

Obama Urges Major Criminal Justice ReformsObama Urges Major Criminal Justice Reforms

US President Barack Obama called for sweeping reforms to the US criminal justice system, including curbing the use of solitary confinement and voting rights for felons.

He said lengthy mandatory minimum sentences should be reduced, or thrown out entirely, BBC reported.

“Mass incarceration makes our entire country worse off and we need to do something about it.”

On Thursday, Obama will be the first sitting president to visit a federal prison, part of a weeklong focus by the White House on the criminal justice system.

Speaking to a gathering of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Philadelphia, Obama discussed investments in education, alternatives to trials and prison job training programs.

“Do we think it makes sense to lock people up in tiny cells for 23 hours a day? It won’t make us safer and stronger.”

Obama also said African Americans and Latinos disproportionately make up most of the prison population.

He said for what the US spends on keeping people in prison per year, $80 billion, there could be universal preschool, doubled salaries for high school teachers or free tuition at US public colleges or universities.

The last significant changes to the criminal justice system in the US came in 2013 when US Attorney General Eric Holder dropped mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders.