In an age of mass incarceration and drug crimes convictions that fuel it, the answer might boil down to money...dollars and cents...according to a recent New York Times op-ed piece.
In the op-ed, author Michelle Alexander suggests that a culture of mass incarceration gives officers an incentive to lie on the stand and in police reports. Michelle Alexander is the author of the recent groundbreaking book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
The United States houses over two million prisoners and, astonishingly, 25% of the world's inmates. A hefty portion of those inmates are in for drug crimes convictions and are thus in some sense pawns of an enormous prison-industrial complex that has insinuated itself into the criminal justice systems of every state and county.
"In the war on drugs, federal grant programs like the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program have encouraged state and local law enforcement agencies to boost drug arrests in order to compete for millions of dollars in funding," Alexander writes. "Agencies receive cash rewards for arresting high numbers of people for drug offenses, no matter how minor the offenses or how weak the evidence."