“Far from serving as a model for the world, contemporary America is viewed with horror,” …posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:02 PM Permalink …says James Q. Whitman, a specialist in comparative law at Yale, wrote last year in Social Research. “Certainly there are no European governments sending delegations to learn from us about how to manage prisons.” More from the article detailing America's eternal shame:
The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.No, sir, them thar communist countries and others who ain't even communist pale in comparison to America when it comes to jailing every citizen they can, for whatever reason they can imagine, while ignoring solutions to prison overcrowding since privatized prisons are now profit making ventures that depend on a steady stream of bodies to keep them profitable.
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 United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London.
China, which is four times more populous than the United States, is a distant second, with 1.6 million people in prison. (That number excludes hundreds of thousands of people held in administrative detention, most of them in China’s extrajudicial system of re-education through labor, which often singles out political activists who have not committed crimes.)
[PROPAGANDA ALERT!] There is little question that the high incarceration rate here has helped drive down crime, though there is debate about how much.[PROPAGANDA ALERT STAND DOWN! BILL][…]This is really a fairly well written article, but assumes facts not in evidence and draws conclusions only a government bean-counter with an agenda would love. Let's examine the propaganda:
It used to be that Europeans came to the United States to study its prison systems. They came away impressed.[…]
Prison sentences here have become “vastly harsher than in any other country to which the United States would ordinarily be compared,” Michael H. Tonry, a leading authority on crime policy, wrote in “The Handbook of Crime and Punishment.”
Indeed, said Vivien Stern, a research fellow at the prison studies center in London, the American incarceration rate has made the United States “a rogue state, a country that has made a decision not to follow what is a normal Western approach.”[…]
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.
Efforts to combat illegal drugs play a major role in explaining long prison sentences in the United States as well. In 1980, there were about 40,000 people in American jails and prisons for drug crimes. These days, there are almost 500,000.
Those figures have drawn contempt from European critics. “The U.S. pursues the war on drugs with an ignorant fanaticism,” said Ms. Stern of King’s College.[…]
[PROPAGANDA ALERT!] Many American prosecutors, on the other hand, say that locking up people involved in the drug trade is imperative, as it helps thwart demand for illegal drugs and drives down other kinds of crime. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, for instance, has fought hard to prevent the early release of people in federal prison on crack cocaine offenses, saying that many of them “are among the most serious and violent offenders.” [PROPAGANDA ALERT STAND DOWN! BILL]
[PROPAGANDA ALERT!] Whatever the reasons, there is little dispute that America’s exceptional incarceration rate has had an impact on crime.[PROPAGANDA ALERT STAND DOWN. BILL] […]
[PROPAGANDA ALERT!] Other commentators were more definitive. “The simple truth is that imprisonment works,” wrote Kent Scheidegger and Michael Rushford of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in The Stanford Law and Policy Review. “Locking up criminals for longer periods reduces the level of crime. The benefits of doing so far offset the costs.” [PROPAGANDA ALERT STAND DOWN! BILL]
1. Other commentators were more definitive. “The simple truth is that imprisonment works,” wrote Kent Scheidegger and Michael Rushford of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in The Stanford Law and Policy Review. “Locking up criminals for longer periods reduces the level of crime. The benefits of doing so far offset the costs.” This statement has no basis in fact or imagination. Harsh drug sentences has not reduced the use of drugs in America, and has instead led to the highest recidivism rate in history. Too, placing these small-time crooks into drug treatment stops providing a "Criminal College" for offenders ill-served by being jailed with violent offenders.
2. “The simple truth is that imprisonment works…” remains the chief bogus claim. See: Violent Crime Rate Goes Up for First Time in 15 Years Following Massive GOP Cuts for Law Enforcement.
The rate of violent crime in America increased last year for the first time since 1991, according to a new FBI report. The increase coincides with dramatic cuts to state and local law enforcement funding by Republicans each year since President Bush took office. The $2.3 billion recently approved by the House amounts to nearly half of the $4.5 billion appropriated in 2001.So it would seem that Clinton's program of putting 100,000 extra police on the streets reduced the crime rate. Take away that extra funding and whoosh!, back up goes the crime rates.
3. “Locking up criminals for longer periods reduces the level of crime. The benefits of doing so far offset the costs.” See: Testimony on Prisoner Reform and Older Prisoners before the House Judiciary Committee by noted scholar, lawyer, and law professor Jonathan Turley.:
To put this into concrete terms, the average cost of a prisoner remains generally between $20,000 and $30,000 per year in various systems. Again, consider California, which is facing a truly dangerous crisis of overcrowding and recidivism in its system. In that state, the annual cost of a prisoner is over $26,000. The cost of an older or geriatric inmate is likely between $40,000 to $70,000 per year. Obviously, due to serious illness and disability, it is not uncommon to find geriatric inmates who cost the system in excess of $100,000 per year.I guess I could go on and on, but why is this article espousing incarceration of people for even minor crimes with low recidivism rate at this time?
I guess with the upcoming Iranian Oil War the MSM just wanted to remind us of the ease with which we may be sentenced to prison - just in case a declaration of martial law becomes necessary.
And besides, it strikes me as thoroughly repugnant that America's hideous record on incarceration is becoming our most recognizable trait.