Justice Reform Groups Ballyhoo ‘Beyond Bars: A Path Forward from 50 Years of Mass Incarceration in the United States’

By Cheyenne Galloway 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The newly released book Beyond Bars: A Path Forward from 50 Years of Mass Incarceration in the United States, details the reality and impact of mass incarceration, while providing solutions for “criminal legal reform.”

The book delineates the American legal and court systems as it finds and outlines applicable solutions in hopes of a more fair and equitable future, with contributions from leading scholars, experts, and organizations, including the Sentencing Project and The Society for the Study of Social Problems.

The Sentencing Project advocates for a better future by providing humane alternatives to mass incarceration. The organization aims to minimize criminalization and imprisonment at large by promoting racial, economic, ethnic, and gender justice. Earlier this year, The Sentencing Project launched its campaign, 50 Years and a Wake Up, to raise awareness about the appalling injustices of the legal system in America.

The Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) “is an interdisciplinary community of scholars, practitioners, advocates and students interested in applying critical, scientific, and humanistic perspectives to the study of vital social problems.”

Constructed during the height of the 2020 racial justice protests, Beyond Bars delves into the perpetual and systemic realities of mass incarceration that plague people of color, predominantly the black community.

One of the chapters in the book highlights the ins and outs of life sentencing by the Co-Director of research at the Sentencing Project, Ashley Nellis, Ph.D., along with the Research Analyst at the Sentencing Project, Kristen M. Budd, Ph.D.; Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences at Illinois State University, David C. Lane, Ph.D.; Professor of Sociology in the Department of Humanities & Social Sciences at Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Glenn W. Muschert, Ph.D.; and Research Affiliate at the Center for Social Science Research at George Mason University, Jason A. Smith, Ph.D.

Budd said in a statement, “We cannot turn a blind eye to the massive toll mass incarceration takes on people who are incarcerated, their families, and entire communities.”

Budd continues, “This is a pivotal moment for racial justice, where we hold the power to reshape our criminal legal system and forge a future firmly rooted in compassion, fairness, and genuine rehabilitation. Our commitment to ending the overreliance on mass incarceration is the key to our collective well-being and the fulfillment of a more just and equitable society.”

About The Author

Cheyenne Galloway recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a double major in Political Science and Italian Studies. Graduating at the top of her class and achieving the distinction Laurea cum laude in her Italian Studies major, she showcases her enthusiasm for knowledge, finding ways to think critically and creatively. She is particularly interested in writing and reporting on social justice and human rights, but as a writing/reporting generalist, she enjoys researching and communicating various topics through written expression.

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