Policing, Black Lives Matter, Punishment, & the Death Penalty
The United States is a leader in criminal justice in several unenviable ways, including imprisonment and the death penalty. We have 5% of the world's population but 25% of its prisoners. We are far more likely to incarcerate offenders at a young age and also for extremely long sentences. A principal cause in these large numbers has been the War on Drugs, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of persons being incarcerated for nonviolent crimes. In addition, "three-strikes laws," which began in California, reduced the discretion of judges and often condemned offenders to long prison sentences that were disproportionate to the severity of their offense. Finally, for decades the United States has been charged with charges of selective policing, where police treat people of color (black and brown) in ways far harsher than they show to their white counterparts.
The fifth edition of Contemporary Moral Issues contains new selections on Black Lives Matter, the ethics of policing, and the justification of punishment.