Mass Incarceration – A Growing Issue in the United States

Bruce Furst is a longtime entrepreneur who licenses music content for film productions through his Austin, Texas, company Ashber Corporation. Outside of work, Bruce Furst supports Amnesty International. The global nonprofit has a commitment to protecting human rights, with a key focus on ending mass incarceration in the United States.

With only five percent of the population of the world, the United States accounts for nearly a quarter of the worldwide prison population. At any given time, in excess of 2 million people are incarcerated in U.S. prisons, with another 5 million facing state or federal probation and parole. Major organizations such as the United Nations’ (UN) Human Rights Committee have voiced particular concerns about racial disparities endemic in the criminal justice system, with individuals of specific ethnicities over-represented among the prison population. Should present trends continue, approximately one-third of all African American males will face jail time at some point in their lives.

The UN Human Rights Committee urges U.S. lawmakers to reform mandatory minimum statutes and apply the Fair Sentencing Act to cases retroactively. Amnesty International agrees that significant reforms in the areas of mandatory minimum sentencing, racial profiling, and prison conditions are needed.