How did the United States, with 5% of the global population but 25% of its prisoners, become home to the largest prison system in the history of the world? Some say it’s an accomplishment. The U.S. is a law and order country and our criminal justice system is the envy of the world. Others feel quite differently and suggest that the “war on drugs” led to the mass incarceration of two generations of the urban poor.
In September 2017, we told the story of Agnes Gund, the banking heiress who sold a Roy Lichtenstein masterpiece for $165 million and donated the proceeds to the Art for Justice Fund she founded. The purpose was to “do something about” the mass incarceration of minor drug offenders that filled American jails with 2.3 million people and distinguished the U.S. as the jailor of more of its citizens than any other country on earth.