The United States incarcerates more of its population, both in aggregate numbers and per capita, than any other country in the world--four times as much as China, which has more people and makes no pretense at being a democracy. This is just one of the troubling facts about the prison industry in the US that Robert Perkinson uncovers in his book, Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. He traces the modern prison complex to its Southern roots, and connects its racial disparities to the backlash against the civil rights movement.All this might sound depressing, but Perkinson and Leonard Noisette of the Criminal Justice Fund of the Open Society Institute note that the economic crisis and a new administration have combined for one of the best chances for real prison reform since the Johnson administration. They join Laura in studio to discuss.
Laura Flanders talks to creative thinkers and change-makers from the worlds of politics, arts and the new economy. The smartest conversations, with the smartest thinkers and doers of our time, distributed in multiple formats on a variety of platforms. Keep abreast of fresh content by following GRITtv, the site Flanders founded, on Twitter @GRITtv.