The United States has more people in prison than any other country and incarcerates people at a higher rate than at any other time in history. Our crime rate, however, is not higher than in other countries or than it has been historically. Why, then, are so many Americans behind bars? The answer lies in the United States’ use of mass incarceration as a strategy to reduce crime, particularly to fight illicit drug use. Yet mass incarceration has not been effective at reducing crime and illicit drug use. It has, however, destroyed families and communities and has exacerbated racial inequality in that the primary victims of intensified law enforcement have been people of color.