America's Prison System

Picked up a copy of "Mother Jones" at the newsstand in Lund yesterday. There is a shocking special section about America's prisons that is also available online: Slammed: Inside America's broken - and broke - prison system (scroll down a bit).

  • 1 % of Americans are in jail
  • 25% of the prisoners world-wide are in American jails
  • 11% of black men between 20 and 34 are in jail
  • Because ex-cons are often not allowed to vote, 13% of black men are not eligible to vote, and many others believe they cannot vote
  • In many states, women convicts who are giving birth must do so while shackled to their beds.
  • There are over a hundred youth serving life sentences in American prisons.
  • 70% of parolees who are returned to prison are returned for administrative infractions such as not showing up for a meeting or not giving their change of address in time.
How can they afford this and Iraq too? And is there any hope of ever changing the system? You don't have to be a bleeding-heart liberal, you just have to do the math to figure out that it would be cheaper to pay the citizens a wage just for living, which might cut down crime quite a bit. They spend almost 50.000 $ a year per convict.

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