Our criminal justice policies have created a system of mass incarceration which hurts our communities and has disproportionate impacts on low income families and communities of color. Too many of our neighbors who commit non violent offenses are ensnared in a prison system that is severely overcrowded. Existing conditions violate the 8th Amendments protection against cruel and unusual punishment and do not provide for meaningful transition back into our communities and our economy. The ACLU is leading the way to rethink and reform these policies and conditions though our campaign for Smart Justice to protect individual rights, reduce the taxpayer burden, and make our communities safer.

Existing "tough on crime" policies, particularly around punitive drug policies, have failed to achieve public safety while putting an unprecedented number of people behind bars and eroding constitutional rights. This system also erodes economic opportunity, family stability, and civic engagement during incarceration and sometimes creating life long challenges upon release.

America, land of the free, has earned the disturbing distinction of being the world's leading jailer. The ACLU believes that together we can cut that number in half by 2020. Nebraska has a role to play in reducing America's addiction to incarceration and providing programs that help those convicted of a crime to turn their lives around.

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