Where Do We Go from Here?
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Where Do We Go from Here? book
We are in a period when many citizens and many politicians are receptive to reform efforts aimed at lowering our incarceration rate. This chapter begins by detailing some of the efforts at reform around the country. Despite this, the overall effect on our incarceration rate has been modest and it has been achieved by going after the “low-hanging fruit”—minor, nonviolent crimes. This chapter explains why significant reform—cutting our incarceration rate by one-third or one-half—is unlikely without facing up to what the Court has done. We could do many things to make our trial system stronger, more reliable, and more efficient, however, today the Court is the major obstacle to reform. Any reform to our investigative or trial system would be attacked as a watering down of the right to counsel, the right to a public trial, the right to freedom of the press, and so on. As this book has shown, other countries that share our rich common law tradition and insist that they also protect these same fundamental rights do things very differently. We need not be frightened of change or be intimidated by those who insist there is only one way of doing things. We can do much, much better.