Recent rates of mass incarceration have become a concern, but those rates are only part of the challenge facing (and posed by) the American criminal justice system. An estimated 25% of the U.S. adult population already has a criminal record and, with new felony convictions churning out at a rate of a million per year, America is well on its way to becoming a nation of ex-cons. Already, the ex-offender class is the nation’s biggest law-defined, legally discriminated-against minority group, and it is growing. The adverse social implications of this trend remain unclear and the critical demographic tipping point is still uncertain, But whatever the details, this is surely not good path for the nation to be on.
John A. Humbach, Is America Becoming A Nation of Ex-Cons?, 12 Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 605 (2015), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/995/.