On the morning of June 25, 2007, Sam, an inmate at Graterford – a maximum security prison less than an hour’s drive from Philadelphia – was feeling pretty good about himself. A few months earlier, he had participated in a first-of-its-kind telecast to more than 3,000 urban youth gathered together at Community College of Philadelphia.
A unique year-old pilot music program inside Pennsylvania’s largest prison needs funding to keep going. Its early success and relationship with the state offers a look inside our appetite for – and the limits of – a new kind of criminal justice reform.
New Mural Arts project brings the voices of those most impacted by mass incarceration to the forefront
Which country has the highest number of incarcerated people per capita?
The United States is the world leader in incarcerating its citizens, imprisoning 2.3 million people per year. The U.S. has 4.4 percent of the world’s population and 22 percent of the world’s prisoners.
The stunning numbers tell a dismal story: Decimated communities, a poorly trained workforce, and large segments of the population marginalized and left behind. This is a failure, magnified on a nationwide scale. It is a failure of our culture of incarceration, a culture that does not provide space for treatment and rehabilitation.
But we can take steps to ignite change in this system.