Saturday, July 21, 2012

Prison America: Highest Incarceration Rate on Earth

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2+ million inmates in USA federal prisons, state prisons, and county jails

Even Pat Robertson is now for legalizing marijuana and questioning American incarceration rates. As disingenuous as Robertson is on many levels, including blaming "liberals" for the American prison problem when conservatives are as much or more to blame, there are in fact 7+ million USA adults under correctional supervision (probation, parole, prison, jail), including 2+ million in locked up in prisons and jails.

A contributing factor to Prison America is the privatization of prisons, that is, corporations manage the prisons as a for-profit enterprise. More prisoners, more profits. A police state can be profitable for some corporations. Lobbying, and paying, state and federal government officials and representatives for contracts and tougher sentencing guidelines is good for business!

How much incarceration rates can be decreased without a threat to public safety is, of course, the first issue. However, funds spent on prisons are diverted from other programs for the public good, sadly such as education.

Excluding incarceration for political dissidents, the USA is the prison capital of the world and rapidly becoming Kafkaesque. Expect American incarceration rates to increase now that indefinite detention without trial or legal representation is legal in the so-called Land of the Free. As more USA citizens who actually believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights are proclaimed terrorists and enemies of the state by Big Brother, formerly known as Uncle Sam, there will be a surge in detention and imprisonment.

Zakaria: Incarceration Nation No other country comes even close to our rates of incarceration. We have 760 prisoners per 100,000 people. Most European countries have one seventh that number (per capita, so it's adjusted for population). Even those on the high end of the global spectrum - Brazil and Poland - have only a quarter the number we do.

7+ million USA adults under correctional supervision (probation, parole, prison, jail)

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