The following piece by CCRC board member Glenn Martin first appeared on May 18 in the blog of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency
For me, exiting a New York state prison in 2000 after serving six years was a rebirth. As a lifelong New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, my mission started to crystallize. I wanted to be a voice for the countless intelligent, earnest, and genuinely good people that I was leaving behind. Reflecting on the 2.3 million people in US prisons and jails and another 5.6 million under correctional supervision—mostly young black and brown men and women—I kept asking myself, “If prison is where we send bad people who do bad things, where do we send good people who do bad things?” I was first bound by handcuffs in 1995, and though I haven’t known their debilitating grip for years, the hypocrisy and destructiveness of our criminal justice system has remained with me ever since.