With over-incarceration and minimum sentencing filling prisons ’til they’re bursting at the seams, the upcoming release of some 6,000 low-level drug offenders may seem like a simple solution to an urgent problem. But in last night’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver explains why that’s not necessarily the case.
With nearly 50 percent of prisoners returning to incarceration, and with programs to help ex-cons being little to none, release from prison isn’t quite the joyous rapture of freedom we see in film and television. Furthermore, there are a plethora of rules and regulations in place that make it difficult for anyone with a criminal record to gain employment, housing or any other number of necessities. Many discharged inmates aren’t even re-incarcerated for criminal offenses, but for small violations of parole, which demands an exorbitant amount of time, fees and careful tip-toeing around rules.
Watch the above clip to see Oliver explain why emptying prisons isn’t the only step toward solving America’s incarceration crisis. (And why giving prisoners “Timecop” powers is only one possible solution.)