Severe criminal justice policies hurt U.S. economy: White House

The Wider Image: Homer hauled to New York prisonBy Julia Harte WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Longer prison sentences for non-violent criminals and crowded prisons are hurting the American economy more than they are helping it, economists in U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration said in a report released on Saturday. The prison population in the United States is 4.5 times larger than it was in 1980, primarily driven by longer sentences and higher conviction rates for nearly all offenses, according to the Council’s report. Economists are “of one mind” that packed prisons, excessively long sentences, and insufficient reentry programs “are counter-productive to our economy as a whole in addition to hurting the people involved,” Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told reporters in a call on Friday.

Share this article