The Champion

March 2011 , Page 56 

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Overwhelming Problems Confront an Underwhelming System: Reforming American Criminal Justice

By Adam Diamond

In undergraduate and graduate classes across the country, students learn that two major purposes of the criminal justice system are to rehabilitate offenders to become positive contributors to society and to protect citizens from dangerous individuals. Statements by politicians from both sides of the aisle reflect a growing acknowledgment in the political arena that the current system is failing on both counts. Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, a Democrat, stated, “As a nation we spend $68 billion every year just to lock up people, many of whom are non-violent offenders. … We lose billions more in lost productivity due to ineffective re-entry programs. The high costs of incarceration divert scarce financial resources from the very programs that help police fight crime.”1 

Conservatives have also issued a call for reform. Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican representing the 2nd District of Texas, said, “Prison serves one purpose, primarily, to separate that person from the

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