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View Full Version : This statistic is just insane.



Nicole
02-29-2008, 02:57 AM
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-prisons29feb29,0,5355881.story

So more than 1 in 100 Americans are in prison. That's a stupidly high number, can somebody explain to me how it comes to be like this? Is sentencing too harsh over there or what? I understand the value of harsh sentencing but when you've got 1% of the country in prison that's just going too far and something isn't right.

That's pretty much stark contrast to Australia where the sentencing for murder is a joke, a couple of years and you're probably out unless you're some derranged psychopath who they deem not safe to be in society, ever, which isn't a lot of cases. And I love this life sentence business here, it equates to about 20 years.

Satanic_Surfer
02-29-2008, 03:06 AM
Murders is a sign of a sick society i'd say.

However the prison system generates a lot of money and cheap labour.
Prisoners work practically for free, you know?

Another reason is the large amount of poverty in the US. It is a fact that poor people more often steal. Nothing strange about that. In turn the war on drugs promotes drug addicted people as drug "offenders" when they are simply victims of the sickness of addiction.

In Sweden a recent report shows that the state has generated much more money by helping drug addicts out of their addiction rather than emprisoning them.

It seems to me that in the US prison is more seen as a "solution" rather than a punishment. A pity really for being in prison does not solve the cause of the problem.

wheelchairman
02-29-2008, 03:10 AM
A natural effect of longer sentences and the fact that these sentences can become more applicable to a broader group of people.

Harsh punishments and the removal of criminal elements from society seems to be the only method used to end crime. A deeply conservative attitude that has some merit to it, this however is only effective so far, and then it unfortunately can even further exacerbate the problem. (Turning prison into a kind of criminal facebook).

On a second though, in a nation where 1% of the population is in prison (and looks to be a rising trend) it makes one wonder how people view law? I mean where 1% actively break the law how many people passively do it and don't care? This goes down to the core legitimacy of the government.

However that line of thinking will only get interesting if the percentage of people in prison rises even more significantly.

Satanic_Surfer
02-29-2008, 03:25 AM
I wonder if there are any statistics that shows what crimes the prisoners in the US actually comitted in order to end up in jail in the first place?

My bet is that drug offence and stealing especially makes the largest part.

It's all just part of a larger problem that includes the whole society.

Nicole
02-29-2008, 04:25 AM
.

On a second though, in a nation where 1% of the population is in prison (and looks to be a rising trend) it makes one wonder how people view law? I mean where 1% actively break the law how many people passively do it and don't care? This goes down to the core legitimacy of the government.



That's what I was wondering about, obviously adherence to the laws is kind of a problem and if chucking people behind bars isn't working, isn't it time for a rethink? I would have thought the 1 in 100 statistic would be enough to improve attention to such an issue but you may be right, could take more.

Satanic_Surfer - I totally get you. I think there needs to be more recognition of drug addiction as a mental illness instead of just a criminal offense because there was drugs involved. I wouldn't think prisons were the right place to get "rehabilitated" you'd be thrown in to a place with high access to drugs, have no motivation to get off them because your surroundings were just utterly depressing and released back into society with the addiction still there. Not to mention how once you were released that is now a part of your criminal record and good luck trying to get back into society in a reasonable capacity because that's really going to hinder your progress and back into the drug cycle you go.

Sunny
02-29-2008, 06:16 AM
i'd say the "war on drugs" and the three strikes law (extended sentences for repeat offenders) have a lot to do with this.

sigh.

Jakebert
02-29-2008, 08:17 AM
Report: More than 1 in every 100 Americans now behind bars

Well someone needs to serve the drinks.

screwuhippie
02-29-2008, 12:41 PM
I think an even more interesting statistic would be ... how many people have actually served Jail Time ... as opposed to those just serving now (which is still a disturbing statistic).

Wonder if we can get into at least 10% on that one ...