I am concerned about men and women who spend years behind bars. To me the idea of being imprisoned is tantamount to being buried alive (if,god forbid, given a choice between the two, I would choose imprisonment... enthusiastically).
Things we can all agree upon:
A multi-year sentence in prison is life changing, for the better or the worse is up to the statistics you site.
Long periods of incarceration is a severe punishment and should be doled out with the utmost jurisprudence.
The goal for such sentences of incarceration should be to deter the original act of the crime, the duration of the sentence should reflect the severity of the crime, and the outcome should be to reintroduce the incarcerated as a person who operates within the accepted social norms of society.
The system which deliberates upon the process of the crime/punishment equation should treat all sects of society with the same objectivity and have no financial interest in the outcome.
The big problem is our present economy depends on people breaking the law. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people employed to investigate, arrest, prosecute, try, transport, process, incarcerate, feed, clean up after, people who break laws in this country.
Prisons are for profit
Empty beds = books in the red
Keep 'em comin' back
Keep the books in the black
Prison Industrial Complex