We have previously written about the problems plaguing the criminal justice system, particularly in its treatment of minors. While low-level juvenile crimes are typically prosecuted through the juvenile justice system, minors who commit serious and violent offenses are often tried as adults.
There have been a number of high-profile criminal cases in recent years - including here in Wisconsin - where the defendant's mental health was a prominent subject. Although the United States has a long way to go, it is ultimately a good thing that more attention is being paid to the intersection of mental health and crime.
Over the past year, the public's attention has been largely focused on issues of race and racism within the U.S. criminal justice system. The killing of unarmed, African-American men by white police officers in Missouri and New York caused other states to examine their own consciences regarding treatment of the African-American community.
While the war on drugs has always been controversial, perhaps the most highly criticized aspect has been the strict enforcement of marijuana laws. Many studies suggest that marijuana is safer in some ways than alcohol and tobacco cigarettes, both of which are legal for adults. And even as this drug has been legalized in many states for medical use, an astonishing number of Americans continue to face arrest and prosecution each year for simple possession.