Charles Fain Lehman, Washington Free Beacon, October 7, 2019
Congressional firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) said that America needs to have a “real conversation” about “prison abolition” on Monday morning.
“Mass incarceration is our American reality,” she said in a tweet. “It is a system whose logic evolved from the same lineage as Jim Crow, American apartheid, & slavery. To end it, we have to change. That means we need to have a real conversation about decarceration & prison abolition in this country.”
“A cage is a cage is a cage. And humans don’t belong in them,” she added in a follow-up tweet.
“Prison abolition” is a proposal popular with the international far-left, which calls for “deep, structural reforms to how we handle and even think about crime in our country.” In general, abolitionists favor abolishing prisons and other systems of punishment, replacing them with “restorative justice” and social welfare programs meant to target the “root causes” of crime.
The Democratic Socialists of America, with which Ocasio-Cortez is affiliated, passed a resolution at its 2019 convention establishing a prison-abolition working group.
Less than 4 percent of state-level offenders, and less than 1 percent of federal offenders, are incarcerated for any kind of drug possession, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The share incarcerated for marijuana offenses is unknown, but almost certainly a fraction of this fraction.
In fact, 55 percent of all state-level offenders—who represent 88 percent of all incarcerees—are in prison for violent offenses. Roughly half of federal offenders are incarcerated for drug offenses, but “more than 99 percent” were drug traffickers, according to the BJS.