Through The Static

April 23, 2008

Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations’

Filed under: Uncategorized — disciplepete @ 7:46 pm

NYT:

The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.

Criminologists and legal scholars in other industrialized nations say they are mystified and appalled by the number and length of American prison sentences…

The spike in American incarceration rates is quite recent. From 1925 to 1975, the rate remained stable, around 110 people in prison per 100,000 people. It shot up with the movement to get tough on crime in the late 1970s. (These numbers exclude people held in jails, as comprehensive information on prisoners held in state and local jails was not collected until relatively recently.)…

People who commit nonviolent crimes in the rest of the world are less likely to receive prison time and certainly less likely to receive long sentences. The United States is, for instance, the only advanced country that incarcerates people for minor property crimes like passing bad checks, Mr. Whitman wrote. (article)

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1 Comment »

  1. GAAAAAAHHHH!!! Yeah, like there’s a finite number of crimes out there to be committed — hence, let’s lock em all up, peoples! The more people locked up, the less crimes they can commit!!!

    Riiiiiiiiight.

    And when will the focus shift from locking up to “rehabilitation”? Dude, the whole — ahhhh… sighs… I shall save this for another post.

    Comment by Aliiiiiiice — April 24, 2008 @ 3:06 am | Reply


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