USA world imprisonment leader

This video from the USA says about itself:

Social impact of rising prison population – Univ. of Michigan

In late Feb [2008], the Pew Center published a report that documents increasing prison population. Among the startling results: About 1 in 99 Americans are in prison, and the U.S. incarcerates more people than any other nation. The two profs explore the need to elevate the topic of prison reform in the national discourse.

By Kate Randall in the USA:

7.3 million in the US prison system

4 March 2009

A study released this week by the Pew Center on the States delivers a staggering statistic: 7.3 million Americans-or 1 in every 31 adults-are in the nation’s prison system. This figure includes those in US jails and prisons, on parole, on probation, or under other forms of correctional supervision.

No other country comes close to matching this number. If these individuals were grouped together, they would number more than the entire populations of Israel or Honduras, or all of the residents of Washington state.

The new study “One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections,” follows a study by the Pew Center last year that found the US leading the world in the rate at which it puts its people behind bars: 1 in 100, or 2.3 million people.

The last quarter-century has seen an explosion in the number of Americans incarcerated, growing by 274 percent. During this same period, those under “community supervision”-the term used by Pew to designate those on parole, probation or other prison supervision-also rose dramatically, from approximately 1.6 million in 1982, to 5.1 million in 2007.

A lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of seven juvenile prisoners describes sexual abuse by both adult inmates and guards in Michigan prisons: here.

James Forman Jr.’s book, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, is one more in the substantial list dealing with the topic of mass incarceration in the US and its hugely disproportionate impact on African-American workers and youth: here.

CORY BOOKER: BRINGING JUSTICE BACK INTO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM “The facts about the criminal-legal system in America are sobering: The United States accounts for only 5 percent of the globe’s population, but for 25 percent of the world’s prison population. We lead the world not in science and math education, college graduation or childhood health — but in the total number of people we incarcerate. We imprison more people than China, Russia, and India combined.” [HuffPost]

U.S. HAS HIGHEST RATE OF CHILD DETENTION The United States has the world’s highest rate of children in detention, including more than 100,000 in immigration-related custody that violates international law, the author of a United Nations study said. [Reuters]

Reviewing the findings of a United Nations study of the conservatively estimated 7 million children worldwide currently deprived of liberty by being imprisoned or detained, author Manfred Nowak reported at a press conference Monday that the United States leads the world in the rate which it detains young people under the age of 18: here.

Activists are coming together to protest the city of Seattle‘s plan to construct a new jail at a cost of $200 million–at the same time budget cuts are taking a toll: here.

France: “For prison guards, better 10 suicides than one escape”: here.

HALF THE COUNTRY AFFECTED BY JAIL A new study reveals in stark numbers just how many American families have been affected by mass incarceration. Nearly half (45 percent) of adults in the U.S. have an immediate family member who has spent at least one night in jail or prison. [HuffPost]

On Wednesday, the United States Senate voted 87-12 in favor of watered-down legislation that will roll back a few of the most draconian provisions of the federal criminal justice system. The “First Step Act,” short for the “Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act,” goes back to the House of Representatives, which passed a slightly stronger version last May by a vote of 360 to 59: here.

55 thoughts on “USA world imprisonment leader

  1. An ex-Repub does something right

    Posted by: “Compañero”

    Thu Apr 2, 2009 12:44 am (PDT) jim_webb.php
    In Praise of Jim Webb
    Posted on: April 1, 2009 9:09 AM, by Ed Brayton

    It takes a lot for a politician to impress me, but Jim Webb, the first term
    senator from Virginia, has done it. He is pushing hard on one of the most
    important but politically dangerous public policy issues there is: prison
    reform. He gave a speech on the Senate floor last week that was as eloquent
    as it was risky, condemning a “justice” system that locks up far too many
    people and calling for serious change. A long excerpt from that speech below
    the fold.
    Let’s start with a premise that I don’t think a lot of Americans are
    aware of. We have 5% of the world’s population; we have 25% of the world’s
    known prison population. We have an incarceration rate in the United States,
    the world’s greatest democracy, that is five times as high as the average
    incarceration rate of the rest of the world. There are only two
    possibilities here: either we have the most evil people on earth living in
    the United States; or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of
    how we approach the issue of criminal justice. . . .
    The elephant in the bedroom in many discussions on the criminal justice
    system is the sharp increase in drug incarceration over the past three
    decades. In 1980, we had 41,000 drug offenders in prison; today we have more
    than 500,000, an increase of 1,200%. The blue disks represent the numbers in
    1980; the red disks represent the numbers in 2007 and a significant
    percentage of those incarcerated are for possession or nonviolent offenses
    stemming from drug addiction and those sorts of related behavioral issues. .
    . .
    In many cases these issues involve people’s ability to have proper
    counsel and other issues, but there are stunning statistics with respect to
    drugs that we all must come to terms with. African-Americans are about 12%
    of our population; contrary to a lot of thought and rhetoric, their drug use
    rate in terms of frequent drug use rate is about the same as all other
    elements of our society, about 14%. But they end up being 37% of those
    arrested on drug charges, 59% of those convicted, and 74% of those sentenced
    to prison by the numbers that have been provided by us.
    Glenn Greenwald is exactly right webb/index.html :
    It’s hard to overstate how politically thankless, and risky, is Webb’s
    pursuit of this issue — both in general and particularly for Webb. Though
    there has been some evolution of public opinion on some drug policy issues,
    there is virtually no meaningful organized constituency for prison reform.
    To the contrary, leaving oneself vulnerable to accusations of being “soft on
    crime” has, for decades, been one of the most toxic vulnerabilities a
    politician can suffer (ask Michael Dukakis). Moreover, the privatized Prison
    State is a booming and highly profitable industry, with an army of
    lobbyists, donations, and other well-funded weapons for targeting candidates
    who threaten its interests.
    Most notably, Webb is in the Senate not as an invulnerable, multi-term
    political institution from a safely blue state (he’s not Ted Kennedy), but
    is the opposite: he’s a first-term Senator from Virginia, one of the
    “toughest” “anti-crime” states in the country (it abolished parole in 1995
    and is second only to Texas in the number of prisoners it executes), and
    Webb won election to the Senate by the narrowest of margins, thanks largely
    to George Allen’s macaca-driven implosion. As Ezra Klein wrote, with
    understatement: “Lots of politicians make their name being anti-crime, which
    has come to mean pro-punishment. Few make their name being pro-prison
    For a Senator like Webb to spend his time trumpeting the evils of
    excessive prison rates, racial disparities in sentencing, the unjust effects
    of the Drug War, and disgustingly harsh conditions inside prisons is
    precisely the opposite of what every single political consultant would
    recommend that he do. There’s just no plausible explanation for what Webb’s
    actions other than the fact that he’s engaged in the noblest and rarest of
    conduct: advocating a position and pursuing an outcome because he actually
    believes in it and believes that, with reasoned argument, he can convince
    his fellow citizens to see the validity of his cause. And he is doing this
    despite the fact that it potentially poses substantial risks to his
    political self-interest and offers almost no prospect for political reward.
    I’m impressed. You should be too. More importantly, we should all get behind
    this effort. Our entire criminal justice system is a disaster from top to
    bottom. Law enforcement is rife with corruption, our prisons are full of
    people who shouldn’t be there at a staggering cost to state taxpayers and an
    even higher cost to families and communities ripped apart, the right to
    counsel remains a fantasy for many accused of a crime and despite locking up
    at least twice as many people as any other civilized nation, our crimes rate
    continue to lead the western world even after going down for the last 25
    And the reason it’s this way is precisely the reason why even raising the
    issue is so dangerous for Webb politically, because the ignorant masses are
    easily swayed by emotional appeals to lock up the bad guys and throw away
    the key.


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  27. Our country’s prison rates are higher than in any other country on Earth. And a growing percentage of the people in our jails and other holding centers haven’t even been convicted of crimes.

    Many are locked up just because they can’t afford cash bail, which often exceeds $10,000. As a result, people with low or limited income, who pose no threat to society, can be trapped in jail for months while the legal process moves slowly. Sometimes even those who are innocent may plead guilty just so that they can return to their families.

    This is a “poor people’s tax” and in particular, a “poor mother’s tax.” Nearly 80% of women in jail are mothers, and most of them are single moms. Even a few days in jail can irreversibly harm families: mothers can lose their jobs, homes, and even custody of their children – because they did not have enough cash for bail.

    We need to end a system that locks up the poor; it’s not fair. As we’re planning our strategy, we need to hear where 10,000 Democrats stand


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