Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Bloomberg has a story today about our country's incarceration rates.  It's jaw-dropping.  We jail more people than any other country... by a lot.  Out of every 100,000 citizens, we jail 730.  To give some perspective, Cuba and Russia are right around 500.  England is about 150.  And how about prisons:

“The model is, if you build it they will come,” said Daniel D’Amico, a professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans. “Because we have all these prisons and all of these other resources funneled into our criminal justice system, we have this ability to enforce things that would otherwise be unenforceable.”
“That includes the drug war, but it’s also including everything from the Martha Stewart types to immigration policies,” D’Amico said. “The scope of things that are now criminal in corporate law is exponentially higher than it was merely twenty years ago.”
The U.S. also leads the world in the number of prisons in operation at 4,575, more than four times the number of second- place Russia at 1,029. U.S. states spent $52 billion to construct and operate those prisons in 2011, more than quadruple the $12 billion spent in 1987, according to data from the Pew Center on the States. 

Just insane.  We have over 2.2 million people in prison.  That's about the size of Houston.  I hope there is a question about this at the debate tonight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please - nobody gives a shit. The worst part is that because private companies are now operating the prisons, they are lobbying for larger incarceration terms. Criminals are going from being burdens to commodities. Who is going to lobby against it? Nobody - but hey, at least that is job security.