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The Pile: Thoughts, Life, and Photography of Joshua Davis

Home of the Free Ranked Number One For Imprisonment

When the US has more prisoners than billion person plus China, you know somethings wrong. Yet the Pew Center issued a report saying 1 in 100 adult Americans are in jail. Here’s what the AP says:

For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America’s rank as the world’s No. 1 incarcerator. It urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars.

Using state-by-state data, the report says 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 — one out of every 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it’s more than any other nation.

The report also noted severe racial disparities in prison sentencing. 1 in 9 black males between 20 and 34 is in jail. The numbers are still pretty bad for men in that age group, with 1 and 30 of them behind bars.

One reason attributed to large inmate populations is because politicians are afraid to appear soft on crime. The moment a criminal is released on a newly created inmate reduction program and commits a crime, politicians usually face a campaign of fear mongering. The end result is less spending on education, and more men and woman in jail so politicians can keep their seats.

All these numbers are crunching state budgets. Vermont, Michigan, Oregon and Connecticut all spend more money on prison then on higher education. But this budget crunch is accomplishing what common sense can’t. States are relaxing punishments for small probation violations, reviewing three strike laws, and looking at other means of reducing prison population.

What’s really shameful is communist China only jails 1.5 million of it’s citizens, while the Chinese population is over 3 times that of the America. Coming third is the former communist stronghold of Russia where businessmen are still thrown in jail for earning too much money.

The report was written by the Pew Center’s Public Safety Performance Project, who is also working with 13 states to reduce inmate populations.

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Filed under: American Politics, Black Matters, News

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