Tackling and Reshaping the Focus on Prison Reform, A New Yorker Article


Source: moma.org

Mass incarceration of Americans, particularly minorities, is an issue that our nation has never solved. From African-American enslavement and Jim Crow Laws, to the War on Drugs of the late twentieth-century and beyond, the United States justice system has complicated the rule of law and terms of punishment when its entire purpose is to create a safer society. When tackling this ongoing issue, prominent figures and organizations throughout United States history have called for reform, and in some cases reform has taken place, but these movements always lose momentum and focus.

In “Rattling the Cage,” Adam Gopnik from The New Yorker studies the long history and misconceptions of American prison reform and asks current reformers to re-evaluate their motives to ensure they are indeed for the people of the United States, not for political gain. Referring to John F. Pfaff’s new book, “Locked In,” Gopnik states, “we are in desperate need of reform, [Pfaff] insists, but we must reform the right things, and address the true problem.” Source: Kaye Blegvad, New York Times

Why You Should Read Gopnik’s Story:

1. If you are passionate about justice for American prisoners, just as we are at We the People Org, Gopnik breaks down the issues of American prison reform that makes it easier for us to understand.

2. Gopnik addresses the multi-dimensional problems of mass incarceration, from for-profit prison schemes to the ambitious motives of prosecutors in the justice system.

3. Gopnik’s story backs We the People Org’s initiative to release prisoners who have received non-sensible sentences for non-violent crimes.


  1. Much is said about the topic of mass incarceration, and the need for sentencing reform in America (particularly California). However, I find it remarkable that law makers, prison reform advocacy groups, and our court systems has shown little effort towards alleviating the glaring injustices suffered by many Americans as a result of Draconian sentencing practices. I’ve joined wethepeople’s plight to make a difference by taking action opposed to just talking. America is synonymous with liberty and justice yet this problem continues to persist. The People’s Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act of 2018 is a major step in the right direction towards sentencing reform. I have faith that the good people of the state of California will join in the efforts to gather the signatures needed to get wethepeople’s fair sentencing initiative passed!

    • Hey Twizard, thanks for responding to our post and being part of We the People Org’s effort to pass The People’s Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act of 2018. We agree with you one hundred percent– less talk and more action, which is why we our revamping our efforts to get the community involved with our initiative. Thanks for the feedback, stay involved and continue helping us make some noise on this issue! – We the People Org


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