Watch: John Oliver Slams One of the Worst Things About America's Criminal Justice System
John Oliver has tackled many aspects of America's broken criminal justice system, from mandatory minimums that result in prisons crowded with non-violent offenders to an unjust bail system that privileges the wealthy.
On "Last Week Tonight," Oliver broke down the almost insurmountable obstacles faced by ex-cons after release, which helps explain America's high rates of recidivism. Over 50 percent of released prisoners end up back in jail.
Oliver points out that ex-cons leave prison with almost nothing. Glenn Ford, who spent 30 years on death row before a judge vacated his sentence, got a $20 gift card for his troubles. Ex-cons are not eligible for many government benefits and a criminal record is not an advantage on the job market. On top of that, former prisoners have to deal with a parole system that almost seems designed to ensure failure.
“Two-thirds of parolees who go back to prison do so, not due to a new crime, but because of parole violations,” Oliver explained, due to “missing appointments or failing a drug test. For some of them, it may be because they’re dealing with untreated substance abuse or mental illness.”
Watch below, courtesy of "Last Week Tonight."