It really is interesting how the police in the US has become so pervasive that it’s starting to get attention from both the mainstream Left and mainstream Right, in spite of the divisiveness that otherwise defines contemporary politics. This article also makes the interesting observation that reform efforts tend to be more successful in politically homogeneous localities.
America’s mass incarceration disaster has been a bipartisan effort. In 1970, there were less than 200,000 people in American state and federal prison. In 2014, there were more than 1.5 million.
Republicans and Democrats collaborated to create this sevenfold increase. Former US presidents Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush, as well as both parties in Congress, passed draconian federal drug and sentencing laws while state governments and local prosecutors embarked on a 30-year incarceration binge. The result of this irresponsible, cross-party consensus is that the US now has by far the largest prison population in the world, both in terms of absolute numbers and rate of incarceration. The United States has 716 people incarcerated for every 100,000 people in the population. In comparison, China’s rate is about 121 for every 100,000 people.