Mary Clare Reim --- The Foundry
June 13, 2014
The second season of Netflix's original series, "Orange is the New Black," premiered on June 6, 2014. The show, based in a women's correctional facility, has rapidly shot to the top of many viewer's Netflix queues.
According to the Daily Signal, this popular show has shed light on the inhumane conditions that prevail in the prison system.
"It’s not just “Orange is the New Black” viewers who are beginning to feel uneasy and morally troubled about the current U.S. prison system. Americans on both sides of the aisle – including those in Congress — are beginning to realize that a large increase in the U.S. incarceration rate over the past three decades is costly not only in terms of explicit expenditures, but in terms of collateral social consequences as well.
An individual needs social, human and financial capital to move upward economically – and incarceration is devastating for those who hope to achieve the American dream.
If a student is jailed, the odds become significantly slimmer that he will graduate from high school: “Juvenile incarceration is estimated to decrease the likelihood of high school graduation by 13 percentage points and increase the likelihood of adult incarceration by 22 percent,” reported a 2013 MIT study. Another study, by Pew, found that “serving time reduces hourly wages for men by approximately 11 percent, annual employment by 9 weeks and annual earnings by 40 percent.”
Bipartisan co-sponsors of the Smarter Sentencing Act include Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.