The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. In 1972, the US prison population was 300,000 people. Today it’s 2.3 million.
This includes 3,000 kids serving life sentences.
“I started representing children on death row 20 years ago, and I was struck by how desperately they wanted and needed mentoring, parenting, guidance.
They were in every sense of the word “kids,” and that surprised me initially. . . . What I saw was that not only were they vulnerable and disabled and exposed in ways that adult clients weren’t, but they were also responsive in ways that adult clients weren’t. . . . The second thing was just seeing how exposed kids are in the adult system, how victimised, how brutalised. The biggest problem we have is the profound absence of hope” The opportunities that were given to me I want to give to other people who are disadvantaged and disfavored and marginalised. And in my generation, I think the place where those needs are most compelling and most dramatic is in the criminal justice system. One out of three young black men is in jail or in prison. I go into communities where half of the young men of color are under criminal justice control, where you see states like Alabama that have permanently disenfranchised over a third of the black male population. I see real threats to the kinds of freedom and opportunities that I experienced as a result of the work that was done before me, and I feel a need to respond to that.”