"Everyone can point to a host of ways the current system has led us astray," he writes. "For some, the criminal justice system is too big and too expensive, and government has been given far too much power. For others, it is too cruel, and people are treated little better than animals. For still more, it is hopelessly biased against minorities and the poor, producing disparities that make the United States the shame of the Western world. Others have concluded it is given to hysteria and prone to error, which has helped create the largest prison population in the world.
"But what is the alternative organizing philosophy of the criminal justice system? We know we don’t want to be here, but no one seems to know where we should be instead. Some people—principally those who focus on mass incarceration rather than the pathologies of the entire carceral state—have suggested that prison populations should be cut by a more or less arbitrary amount."