USA - Article: US: Highest incarceration rates

Discussion in 'Drug Policy Reform & Narco Politics' started by ~lostgurl~, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. ~lostgurl~

    ~lostgurl~ Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

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    Dec 23, 2004
    from Australia
    US: Highest incarceration rates

    [​IMG]Dec 10, 2006

    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 US Justice Department report released on Nov. 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 Centre 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 US 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 US sentencing laws seized on the latest US 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% of the world's population and 25% 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 offences."

    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 offences, 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 US 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 US justice system.

    "Why are so many people in prison? Blame mandatory sentencing laws and the record number of non-violent drug offenders subject to them," she said.
    Source: Reuters
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2017
  2. Woodman

    Woodman A very strange person. Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Nov 3, 2003
    116 y/o from U.S.A.
    Excellent lostgurl!

    Proof, once again, that the US is a ridiculously over-regulated country.
  3. Solidly-here

    Solidly-here Gold Member

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    May 3, 2005
    "The United States has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's incarcerated population. We rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens."

    Well, at least the US is first-in-the-world about something.
  4. stinky_plant

    stinky_plant Silver Member

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    Jan 7, 2007
  5. Nagognog2

    Nagognog2 Iridium Member

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    Feb 1, 2005
    Yep. Up in my neck of the woods, a CEO of a hospital ripped-off the taxpayers for over $360 million on a "renovation" to the hospital - right into his bank account. He was given 4 years in federal prison (country-club). He was released in 1 and a half. Meanwhile people rot in jail for 10+ years for having a pound of pot.

    I wouldn't mind "mandatory-minimum" sentencing - if I could decide the crimes it would be applied to.
  6. zera

    zera Gold Member

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    Sep 11, 2006
    from Illinois, U.S.A.
    This is the fundamental flaw that I see in "enlightened government." Like Barry Goldwater said "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." It's kind of a bittersweet irony for traditional US left liberals that they spent so long building up a leviathan state for the purpose of carrying out their social goals, but now they see that that same state apparatus that they built can be used equally as well by conservatives to achieve goals that are counter to their own.

    Trying to subdue the government to your own end is like playing with fire, trying to tame a tiger, or turning a ho into a housewife. It's something that will simply turn on you. Much better to destroy or severly cripple the state so it can no longer threaten our freedom.