Sunday, December 10, 2006

Another Fine Milestone for our Fine Nation

U.S. Imprisons More People Than Any Other Nation

By James Vicini, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Dec. 9) -- Tough sentencing laws, record numbers of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the United States having the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world, according to criminal justice experts.

A U.S. Justice Department report released on November 30 showed that a record 7 million people -- or one in every 32 American adults -- were behind bars, on probation or on parole at the end of last year. Of the total, 2.2 million were in prison or jail.

According to the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College in London, more people are behind bars in the United States than in any other country. China ranks second with 1.5 million prisoners, followed by Russia with 870,000.

The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people in the highest, followed by 611 in Russia and 547 for St. Kitts and Nevis. In contrast, the incarceration rates in many Western industrial nations range around 100 per 100,000 people.

Groups advocating reform of U.S. sentencing laws seized on the latest U.S. prison population figures showing admissions of inmates have been rising even faster than the numbers of prisoners who have been released.

"The United States has 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population. We rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens," said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports alternatives in the war on drugs.

"We now imprison more people for drug law violations than all of western Europe, with a much larger population, incarcerates for all offenses."

Ryan King, a policy analyst at The Sentencing Project, a group advocating sentencing reform, said the United States has a more punitive criminal justice system than other countries.

More People to Prison

"We send more people to prison, for more different offenses, for longer periods of time than anybody else," he said.

Drug offenders account for about 2 million of the 7 million in prison, on probation or parole, King said, adding that other countries often stress treatment instead of incarceration.

Commenting on what the prison figures show about U.S. society, King said various social programs, including those dealing with education, poverty, urban development, health care and child care, have failed.

"There are a number of social programs we have failed to deliver. There are systemic failures going on," he said. "A lot of these people then end up in the criminal justice system."

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in California, said the high prison numbers represented a proper response to the crime problem in the United States. Locking up more criminals has contributed to lower crime rates, he said.

"The hand-wringing over the incarceration rate is missing the mark," he said.

Scheidegger said the high prison population reflected cultural differences, with the United States having far higher crimes rates than European nations or Japan. "We have more crime. More crime gets you more prisoners."

Julie Stewart, president of the group Families Against Mandatory Minimums, cited the Justice Department report and said drug offenders are clogging the U.S. justice system.

"Why are so many

people in prison?

Blame mandatory

sentencing laws

and the record

number of

nonviolent drug

offenders subject

to them," she said.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The war on drugs is one of the most profitable and destructive enterprises ever constructed. It is nothing but a cash cow for areas such as Chambers County, Jefferson County, and Orange County. The cops, the prosecutors, the judges, the bail-bondsmen, the private prison developers, the tow truck drivers, and even some of the defense lawyers are all complicit. They use I-10 as a feeding ground to grow this leviathan. They remove fathers from their homes and take whatever money the accused individuals’ families can scrape together. They pocket money, and they laugh about it. It is time to take a torch to the entire evil enterprise.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And now, the war on terror is most profitable and destructive enterprise ever constructed.
A 3-part BBC documentary called "The Power of Nightmares" is a good place to start.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think about it.
Everytime we call for war on something or someone, we end up seeing more of it.
And what happens when we run out of things to make war with?
Well, we make one up.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maynne matt, this is almost becoming a serious forum for discussion! change starts here!

you played a track on damage control a few weeks back by Invincible, it was so real about this very subject

3:47 PM  
Blogger Phlip said...

Unfortunately I don't see any changes coming soon considering the current political climate. Anyone who dares to offer a sane alternative is branded "soft on crime" and rendered unelectable. Especially here in Texas. Even the efforts Ann Richards made to put alcohol/drug treatment programs in our prisons (by the way, one of the best ways to prevent recidivism) were quickly killed once Bush ascended to power. Meanwhile prison corporations continue to bilk our communities. Makes ya wonder how much worse it has to get before we do something about it . . .

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i guess i'm going to go against the grain, and say boo-freakin-hoo.

if you don't want to go to jail, don't do dumb shyte. over 99% of the people in the U.S. don't go to jail.

i'm not saying don't smoke some weed. i'm saying don't roll with felony amounts of it on your person.

i'm not saying the situation sets up badly for people of lesser economic status. i'm saying don't fall into the trap, because YOU KNOW there is a trap waiting. if you can't afford a lawyer, don't drive with a four lbs or kilo or or whatever.

if you don't want to go to jail, don't try to make $100 on 3 rocks of crack, because it's a roll of the dice, and if you know anything about dice (ie, probability and statistics) you know you are going to hit that 7 more times than you're going to hit that point.

i know, once you're hooked on some b.s. (drugs, rims, shoes, whatever), it's hard to kick, but there isn't one person in the U.S. that doesn't know the power of that stuff. stay away from the jump, man. you have to be one of the stupidest mofos around to want to 'experiment' with crack or heroin, and rims don't get you a damn thing, except more attention, and you don't get to pick if the attention is all good or not.

yeah, i know, for some reason we (speaking to the black folks) can't make big money doing much other than entertainment.

listen, we can't all be jay-z. but we can ALL be the person that has his/her stuff together, regardless of where we started. you don't have to be a millionaire to live good. i feel like a baller every day, because i get to decide what 'baller' means.

yeah, i know the schools generally suck and don't really teach everyone, but, damn, try to learn the stuff they do teach (or try to help your kids to at least understand the value and importance of education.) go to the library, get a book and learn something. learn how to build a house, or develop games for playstation 10, or how to make real estate deals happen... you CAN do something and you CAN help someone else do something.

yes, i know, "there are more black men in jail than in college." don't fall for that, either. the college 'sentence' is four or five years and then (usually) you go do some good for yourself. you don't get 30 to life in college. the number of people in college at one time will never grow like the number of people in prison. the number of people going to college should increase, sure, but the number of people staying in college should be fairly constant.

learn something other than how to bitch about the laws not being stacked up against you. shake it off, man. get yours and then teach someone how to get theirs.

or get out of the way for those of us who do.


2:45 PM  
Blogger W.C. Welch IV said...


“Going against the grain” as you aim to do is always valuable, but I do think that only unity among the people can overcome the current corrupt exploitations of the drug laws.

You devote many words to a position which misses the essence of the criticisms you attempt to marginalize. The critique on the “war on drugs” relates to creating a machine that exists to enable an entrenched power to enrich itself at the expense of (as you so eloquently stated) the “stupidest mofos around” and - more importantly - those mofos’ families.

Between the current corrupt war on drugs and claims for legalization of all narcotics, lies the realm of reason. Within that realm, a Clean Government - not one tainted by kick backs to dirty cops and prostitutes posing as judges - could create a just system for administering to the addicted and generally dispossessed. The guiding principles would not be graft and moral condemnation; rather there would be a genuine attempt to keep crack out of schools, keep kids off the corners, and address head on the dehumanization present in society that has led so many of those “stupidest mofos around” to abandon hope and embrace a crack pipe.

Fear not TK, in this realm, you can continue to distance yourself from the “stupidest mofos around,” who lack your moral fiber, but absent will be a State that exploits these “stupidest mofos around.” At the end of the day, TK, these “stupidest mofos around” are some of the weakest members of society. We will be judged, as a people, on how we treat the weakest among us. Perhaps it is time to ponder approaching the war on drugs within the realm of reason.

Peace and Justice.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good feedback, WC. I think we see (and have said) a lot of the same things, but in a little be different light. I didn't go against the grain for the sake of going against the grain. I went against the grain because this 'thread' seemed to be pointing the finger outward and lacked much discussion of personal responsibility.

Consider this; in the history of mankind, there has not been one civilization in which those in power did not attempt to take advantage of those not in power. In essence, changing the 'machine' is impossible. Changing ourselves is the ONLY answer. Making excuses about the environment doesn't solve the problem, and I acknowledge both the excuse and the problem whole-heartedly.

We absolutely need to unite, which is why I said get yours and teach someone else how to get theirs (these are to be done in parallel, not one then the other.) There is only one way to help the weak, and that is to help them get stronger, as there will ALWAYS be some challenge for people to overcome - be it drugs, 'the state', slavery, economy, or a lack of self-love.

When my brother and my cousin 'embraced a crackpipe' it had nothing to do with abandoning hope. It had to do with making choices and not thinking them through to their logical conclusion. They both KNEW the end result, but thought they would be above it. I love my little brother and still give him feedback and guidance on how to make the right decisions. I have watched my cousin smoke crack and I have watched him turn his life around. I do not further myself from "the stupidest mofos around," but merely call a shoe a shoe, instead of a reinforced foot covering intended for travel that has been adapted for pageantry. My cousin and brother were two of the stupidest mofos around to throw away what they had just to get high. Not out of abandonment of hope, but just to get high.

The state will ALWAYS exploit, so once again, if you KNOW there is a trap/exploit, don't knowingly walk right into it, and then blame someone else when the trap snaps on you.

The war on drugs or even 'drugs' altogethr could end right now, and the real problems people face would not go away. These so-called wars just take advantage of people's inability (or more appropriately, lack of desire) to be responsible for themselves.

We're on the same side. Keep working.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not hard to believe at all. A few months back I made the dumb mistake of kicking back a few and getting behind the wheel. Long story short, I got hit from behind at a stop sign by some dumb c*nt in an F-150, but I was the one that got taken to jail b/c I had less than 2 g's of pot on me and was technically 'under the influence', though I am one of the most nonviolent people in the nation. Sure some offenders are guilty of blatant stupidity, but the jail system wouldn't be so g*d-damned overcrowded if it weren't for all the damn technicalities and strictness of local and state mandatory sentencing on weak sh*t like that. Anyway, keep puttin it down for H-town Matt.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah it's fucking sick. Less time for some fucking pervert rapist than a dude selling dope

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