Most people think they know what ails the American criminal justice system because the experts keep telling us: Too many people go to prison-even nonviolent offenders who've committed low-level infractions. They're locked up in an overcrowded system, and they are not rehabilitated. Instead, they're reenergized to do more damage to society.
Ed Barajas, who retired from the Federal Bureau of Prisons after twenty-seven years, argues that we've gotten the narrative wrong. He challenges the notion that prisons are a necessary evil at best and a shameful institution at worst. More importantly, he suggests practical and lasting solutions to solve the real problems. He also points out that the first step to fixing those problems begins with those who work for the criminal justice system remembering who they serve-the taxpayers that pay their salaries.
Barajas examines how everyday citizens are partnering with the criminal justice system to reduce crime on the local level. Many of these communities are safer and more secure than ever, but they've largely gone unnoticed. While "experts" ask the wrong questions and make misguided assumptions, citizens, victims, and criminal justice professionals are transforming the system through a quiet revolution beyond the traditional calls for reform.
Ed offers an insightful and comprehensive policy analysis about the state of the American criminal justice system and provokes thinking beyond traditional policy models. Moreover, he offers solutions that have been proven successful which currently are overlooked or ignored by national policymakers.
-Selma Sierra, Policy Director Bingham Research Center, Utah State University
I worked with Ed at the National Institute of Corrections for over a decade. His ability to see through the maze we call "corrections" was not only edifying but refreshing. He gives a clear picture, as well as solutions, to so many practices that are not working.
-Rick Faulkner, President, The Faulkner Group, LLC