(1)>> America has a serious problem that's more embarrassing than the political scandals . Recently a report was issued that the United States rate of incarceration is "higher" than China or any developed modern nation . With more than two million people behind bars, a 500 percent increase since the mid-1970s, politicians on both sides of the aisle have come to agree that America has a prison problem. When I read the figure (About 2.4 million people live behind bars in America — the highest number in the world. That's a little more than 0.7% of the population and more than 700 for every 100,000 people. ) I first thought of the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin's gulags in Siberia. No it's (2)>> OUR COUNTRY .There's not much the right and left agree on these days, but one notable exception seems to be criminal justice reform. The numbers are staggering . Even though they are only 6 percent of the U.S. population a mere 19 million people counting children, African American males make up nearly half of all American prisoners (with a total of around 800,000 people imprisoned). This represents a 500 percent increase in the number of black men behind bars since 1980. The Urban Institute, a social policy think tank, created the Prison Population Forecaster, an interactive tool that lets you go see how different policy combinations would reduce prison populations. In some states, the optimum solution is to slightly reduce sentences for violent offenses, in others it is to limit imprisonment for new crimes. The tool uses data from 15 states that represent nearly 40% of America’s incarcerated. (3)>>If nothing changes, the prison population in all 15 states will fall by only 2% by 2021. However, if states reform only drug sentencing laws–an effort already launched by some states and promoted by the Obama administration–the prison population could fall by 7% over that span.Stricter treatment of drug offenses, and longer sentences for violent and repeat offenders, underlie this high rate.Then tough-on-crime laws passed at the state and federal levels with bipartisan support.Now, the United States has reached “mass incarceration”—“a level of imprisonment so vast that it forges the collective experience of an entire social group. But our criminal justice system is not doing a good job. It has failed on every count: public safety, fairness and cost-effectiveness. Recall also that in 2012 US Supreme Court ordered the state to release 40,000 prisoners , citing conditions that constituted cruel and unusual punishment. One hopes that part of the upshot of all this is a major rethinking of the war on drugs and the treatment of non-violent offenders in general.No one has ever lost an election for appearing to be “tough on crime.” Thus, with such attitudes in play, it’s no wonder that elected officials from both parties have helped create the mass incarceration problem in the United States.Regardless of good intentions, taxes paid/funding found, ( 4)>>IN THE END, we always show our true lack of humanity, with how we treat those we consider less desirable, and unwanted. Even locked away, we find an excuse to substantiate why our abuse and cruelty is acceptable. Then we turn a blind eye to the truth of what we really are. Federal government intervention alone won't cut it, because, as President Obama and Senator Portman both recognize, the problems with the criminal justice system start earlier, in local jails. Too many Americans are being deprived of their liberty, held in jail when they shouldn’t be, and the result is out-of-control local government spending on ineffective criminal justice systems—funds that could be better put to use elsewhere.
NOTES AND COMMENTS:
(1)>> America imprisons more people than any other nation in the world, and hands out harsher and longer sentences than most. As a result, its prisons are overcrowded and increasingly expensive, and its penitentiary policies, especially when it comes to the so-called war on drugs, are largely seen as a failure. (2)>>In the new normal of low-paying jobs, even many of those lucky enough to work are in poverty. Studies find that poverty itself is being criminalized. Here is more statistics that I researched, It makes no "sense" in the nation of the "free". The United States prison system is a blight for the country. The International Center for Prison Studies estimates that America imprisons 716 people per 100,000 citizens (of any age). That compares (unfavorably) with Russia (484), China (121) and Iran (284). Over 2.5 million American children have a parent behind bars. A whopping 60 percent percent of those incarcerated in U.S. prisons are non-violent offenders,many of them in prison for drug charges (overwhelming African-Americans). Even while our crime rate has fallen, our incarcerated population has climbed.The American prison system should be our greatest source of shame. The only country that imprisons more people per capita may be North Korea (estimates are obviously tough to find). That's not a good comparison. (3)>> Interestingly enough Presidential "hopeful" Hillary Clinton back in March 2015 argued that “without the mass incarceration that we currently practice, millions fewer people would be in poverty,” before diving into the unemployment rate of formerly incarcerated persons, and the exorbitant costs of state prisons. She called for the United States to “end the era of mass incarceration,” and discussed the failures of mandatory minimum sentences, the need to invest in probation and drug diversion programs, and the impact of high incarceration rates on African American communities in particular. (4)>>Three out of four people jailed today are there for nonviolent crimes. More than six out of ten have not been convicted of any crime. They are being held in jail for increasingly long periods while waiting until they finally get a trial or agree to plea bargain, unable to afford bails that may be as low as $250 or $500.In the past 30 years, the average length of stay in local jails has increased by 64 percent. People land in jail for all sorts of reasons, like driving with a suspended license or not paying child support—a punishment that does not help people who are jailed to pay what they owe and provide for their families.