Saturday, December 02, 2006

Another Record for the Bush Administration

This year saw a record 7,000,000 people guests of the U.S. prison system. That is, 1 in every 32 adults in this country is either 1) behind bars; 2) on probation; 3) on parole.

So, the next time you're in a crowd of more than 32 people, and you know you haven't been held for anything lately, look around. Somebody next you just might have been.

Is this because we're just bad, BAD, Americans anymore?
Is it because after watching Oz all those years, many of us just wanted to experience it for ourselves?
Or is it perhaps that we've got a criminal justice system that would rather incarcerate than rehabilitate? It's not news that for decades now we've been feeding people into a system that has little money for rehabilitation and training, but instead turns out broken people trained for little but leading lives that will lead back into prison.

Among the depressing statistics . . .

2.2 million people in prison or jail, a 2.7% increase over 2004
4.1+ million people on probation
784,208 people on parole
Female prison population is growing faster than the male, 2.6% vs. 1.9%
7% of all inmates are women
From 1995-2003, 49% of inmates in federal prison are there for drug offenses
Black males aged 25-29, one in 13 is incarcerated (8.1%)
Hispanic men 2.6%
White men 1.1%

By states, South Dakota has apparently become quite lawless. It's prison population has grown 11%. Montana grew 10.4%, Kentucky 7.9%.


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