What's Happening In Your World
The United States of America touts itself as the land of the free, but more and more, it looks as if America is the home of the jailed. The American justice system is putting American citizens behind bars in record numbers, and those who are locked up are disproportionately black and brown men. An article from the  New York Times  points out that part of the reason for the high incarceration rate has to do with the number of people who are locked up for minor infractions: Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations. It is remarkable that regular people in this country are locked up for such minor things, while fraudsters, such as those on Wall Street, aren’t punished at all or are only made to pay a fine for their crimes committed.  America has five percent of the world’s population, but a quarter of the world’s criminals, making America the leader in incarceration, with China running a distant second. Here’s how the U.S. ranks against other countries: It [America] has 751 people in prison or jail for every 100,000 in population. (If you count only adults, one in 100 Americans is locked up.) The only other major industrialized nation that even comes close is Russia, with 627 prisoners for every 100,000 people. The others have much lower rates. England’s rate is 151; Germany’s is 88; and Japan’s is 63. Saddest of all is that there are no plans coming out of Washington D.C. to address mass incarceration. The Times article concludes by acknowledging that Western countries are much more punitive than non-English speaking countries. There seems to be something in the culture of Westerners that makes them harsher in their punishments than other cultures.  

Mass Incarceration: U.S. Has 5% of World’s Population, But 25% of World’s Criminals

The United States of America touts itself as the land of the free, but more and more, it looks as if America is the home of the jailed. The American justice system is putting American citizens behind bars in record numbers, and those who are locked up are disproportionately black and brown men.

An article from the New York Times points out that part of the reason for the high incarceration rate has to do with the number of people who are locked up for minor infractions:

Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.

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10 comments

  1. I have copied, pasted and slightly paraphrased what commenter "marid" posted on Alter Net to the headline: Private Prison Company Used in Drug Raids at Public High School.

    Once the Privatization of Prisons became a wealth building business, it didn't take long for the most disadvantaged in society to be targeted to keep Prison Cells filled.

    "Private prisons are a black mark on the American Soul. Therefore it should remain the job of Govt. to legislate, quantify, administer and deal with crimes. To put the punishment phase of crimes into a For Profit Mode removes any concept of fairness, legality, or morality. Making profits from human suffering is the greatest crime against humanity in these supposedly PC times!"

  2. Bottom line, it's a multi billion dollar business! So call it what it is, The Prison Industrial Complex! Black and Brown people are easy marks for the System. They start early by tracking students through the School System.

  3. This is the New Jim Crow Law….. There was never a war on Drugs…….. The War was on Us……… peace – out.

  4. This is not solely because Americans are more prone to criminal activity…they are nut there are other factors. Many mentally ill end up incarcerated when they should be hospitalized. Also, illegal aliens are committing crimes and impacting this number. If we were to create a better system to handle the mentally ill and deal with illegal aliens by deporting and lock our borders. Now about us….if work gangs/chain gangs and harsher environments were brought back in our penial systems…maybe prison would be more of a deterient. I had to pay for my education, why don't they? Take the cable television, married prisoners having sec with spouses while locked up, continual appeals and new in house cases. Just my opinion…

  5. So United States is not only leading the World in technological development and exportation of "American democracy," she also leads in the global production of criminals.

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