Forum Thread

The Prison Industrial-Complex

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  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    The United States has just 5 percent of the world's population and over 20 percent (closer to 25%) of its prisoners. Since 1980 alone, America's prison population has quadrupled. This is terrifying news to me. Here are some numbers for ya, the top countries and their incarcerated citizens' tallies:

    Notable countries' incarceration rates (per 100,000 people)

    #1 Overall (of every country on the planet) The United States - 730

    Here is a hand-selected list of countries that I felt were comparable to US (even if just barely), for examples:

    Russia 502
    Netherlands 369
    Taiwan 282
    New Zealand 194
    United Kingdom 154
    Spain 150
    China 123
    Australia 129
    Canada 114
    Italy 109
    Switzerland 76
    Denmark 74
    Japan 55

    The only country that's even close is Russia. The UK, China, Japan, Canada... all these counties are at least jailing 4 1/2 people less (per capita) than you U.S. The U.S. locks up more than 13x the amount of citizens per 100,000 than Japan! What?!?

    But, its not just per capita. There are roughly 2.2 million U.S. citizens incarcerated at this very moment. (That's almost 1% of our ENTIRE population.) The next closest country to that number is Russia at roughly 1.5 million. Then, the numbers drop dramatically. And that 2.2 million number is ever increasing. To add to this staggering statistic the fact that private prisons are popping up in our country, and its clear that there is something seriously wrong with our entire penal system. The fact that our society allows profit to be made off of locking someone up in a cage is downright wrong and should be made illegal!

    In light of these statistics that have been obvious and staggering for 2 decades now, many have been referring to our prison system as "the prison industrial-complex", comparing it to our ridiculous "military industrial-complex" issue. I see many similarities myself. The U.S. locks up the most people in the world, both by total and per capita, by far. And, it spends the most on its military, by far. Both systems need to be overhauled.

    What are your thoughts? Have anything to add to this? Hope so, cause this is pissing me off right now. And, I would enjoy some back and forth on this. Thanks for letting me rant.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    sbfriedman,
    Great post. I went to wikipedia to check on Americans imprisoned abroad...... There were 67 pages sorted alphabetically. I'm not that familiar with wikipedia so I couldn't go to just the total. One sub heading was Americans imprisoned in the Soviet Union.
    I was curious about the percentage in US prisons for drug offenses and percentage based on race. Below was cut and pasted from wikipedia.
    ------------------------------------------

    The imprisonment rate varies widely by state; Louisiana surpasses this by about 100, but Maine incarcerates at about a fifth this rate. A report released 28 February 2008, indicates that more than 1 in 100 adults in the United States are in prison.[5] The United States has less than 5% of the world's population[6] and 23% of the world's prison population.[7][dead link]

    According to a US Department of Justice report published in 2006, over 7.2 million people were at that time in prison, on probation, or on parole (released from prison with restrictions). That means roughly 1 in every 32 Americans are held by the justice system.[8][9]

    The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released a study which finds that, despite the total number of prisoners incarcerated for drug-related offenses increasing by 57,000 between 1997 and 2004, the proportion of drug offenders to total prisoners in State prison populations stayed steady at 21%. The percentage of Federal prisoners serving time for drug offenses declined from 63% in 1997 to 55% in that same period.[10] In the twenty-five years since the passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, the United States penal population rose from around 300,000 to more than two million.[11] Between 1986 and 1991, African-American women's incarceration in state prisons for drug offenses increased by 828 percent.[12]

    In 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that U.S. State prison population growth rate had fallen to its lowest since 2006, but it still had a 0.2% growth-rate compared to the total U.S. prison population.[13] In California, the US State Prison population fell during 2009 for first time in 38 years.[14] When looking at specific populations within the criminal justice system the growth rates are vastly different. In 1977, there were just slightly more than eleven thousand incarcerated females. By 2004, the number of women under state or federal prison had increased by 757 percent, to more than 111,000, and the percentage of women in prison has increased every year, at roughly double the rate of men, since 2000.[15] The rate of incarcerated females has expanded at about 4.6% annually between 1995 and 2005 with women now accounting for 7% of the population in state and federal prisons.

    The United States has a higher percent of imprisoned minorities than any other country in the world. In Washington D.C., three out of every four young black men are expected to serve some time in prison. In major cities across the country, 80% of young African Americans now have criminal records.[16]
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Exactly. The rates are ridiculously skewed in both of those directions, being race and drug offences. Didn't think to consider citizens imprisoned abroad. That's interesting as well though.
  • Independent
    green valley, IL
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    Been there done that, got the T shirt. I started in 1986 and witnessed firsthand the quadrupling of the Federal prison system. What began as my UAW brothers on the other side of the fence-selling drugs to recoup lost wages from lay offs in Detroit-became fatherless kids sacrificed by the gang to appease investigations and remain in business. Around 1990, the organized crime syndicates and I mean the very well organized ones! cashed out and left the big money to the gangs and the government. From opium hidden in corpses returning from Nam to Ollie North to what's going on in Afghanistan with whatshisname's brother, the War on Drugs makes the War on Poverty look like a victory. We all learned it in grade school when the teachers spoke of the spice trades and Marco Polo. The good news is that when people quit hurting themselves with drugs, the problem will vanish as all market-driven enterprises do. Blanch at the prospect of paying for covert government missions with taxes rather than drug profits! We could learn our lessons from Russia but we're too, too good for that so we make our own.
    Where was I? Oh yeah! Prisons have been over-crowded and ignored well before anyone here or there became aware. 36 prisons became 112 prisons and still there's overcrowding but that is 1% of any alarm. The privitization of federal and state corrections permits government to evade its responsibility for the incarceration and treatment of inmates-worth the money at any cost! The savings are not there-it actually costs much more and the lies are real when warehousing of people is addressed. Do Not expect a corporate spokeswoman or spokesman to expound the virtues of a private prison operated for profit.
    I'll quit soon but before I go-inmates are people that committed crimes or were found guilty of a crime. They oftentimes "do the time" and go home, if they have one. Reentering the "Land of the Free" is often harder than the "time". Recidivism is another problem. Do Not treat a former inmate like a former inmate! They are people like you, just like you,
    And one more thing-if you get pissed off because you're upset about prison population numbers, private prisons, or prisoners in general, do the Toyota thing and "Go there, see that". It may not be that good but it damn sure ain't that bad. Intellectualizing Will Not put a face to the problem and there are many faces. Until you hear a grill bang shut, you have no idea of what you are talking about.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Crazy but true story. Currently in Columbus, Ohio there's a man in prison for Murder. On death row. Been in prison about 30 years. Is scheduled to die by lethal injection. He's protesting this because he now weighs nearly 400 Lbs. Said due to his size it would be cruel and unusual punishment. His lawyer is taking it to court. Can you $#@(ing believe it. I want to ask how cruel and unusual was the murder that you commited ?
  • Independent
    Dover, TN
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    jain Wrote: Been there done that, got the T shirt. I started in 1986 and witnessed firsthand the quadrupling of the Federal prison system. What began as my UAW brothers on the other side of the fence-selling drugs to recoup lost wages from lay offs in Detroit-became fatherless kids sacrificed by the gang to appease investigations and remain in business. Around 1990, the organized crime syndicates and I mean the very well organized ones! cashed out and left the big money to the gangs and the government. From opium hidden in corpses returning from Nam to Ollie North to what&#39;s going on in Afghanistan with whatshisname&#39;s brother, the War on Drugs makes the War on Poverty look like a victory. We all learned it in grade school when the teachers spoke of the spice trades and Marco Polo. The good news is that when people quit hurting themselves with drugs, the problem will vanish as all market-driven enterprises do. Blanch at the prospect of paying for covert government missions with taxes rather than drug profits! We could learn our lessons from Russia but we&#39;re too, too good for that so we make our own.<br /> Where was I? Oh yeah! Prisons have been over-crowded and ignored well before anyone here or there became aware. 36 prisons became 112 prisons and still there&#39;s overcrowding but that is 1% of any alarm. The privitization of federal and state corrections permits government to evade its responsibility for the incarceration and treatment of inmates-worth the money at any cost! The savings are not there-it actually costs much more and the lies are real when warehousing of people is addressed. Do Not expect a corporate spokeswoman or spokesman to expound the virtues of a private prison operated for profit.<br /> I&#39;ll quit soon but before I go-inmates are people that committed crimes or were found guilty of a crime. They oftentimes "do the time" and go home, if they have one. Reentering the "Land of the Free" is often harder than the "time". Recidivism is another problem. Do Not treat a former inmate like a former inmate! They are people like you, just like you,<br /> And one more thing-if you get pissed off because you&#39;re upset about prison population numbers, private prisons, or prisoners in general, do the Toyota thing and "Go there, see that". It may not be that good but it damn sure ain&#39;t that bad. Intellectualizing Will Not put a face to the problem and there are many faces. Until you hear a grill bang shut, you have no idea of what you are talking about.<br />
    WOW! That's perfection in a statement, from an enlightened and learned mind. If only we open our eyes and mind, will we be able to see these truths.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Thought about making a new thread. But since I was going to name it this exact same title, figured it best to just would revise this one instead.

    Last Week Tonight w/ John Oliver dedicated 17 minutes of their latest show to the subject of prisons. And they do an excellent job reporting (of course comically) on the status and current state of affairs with the prison industry in America, ranging the entire gamut: from pointing out that the United States imprisons the highest percentage of our citizens (1%) compared to the rest of the world, and that we also have the highest population in the world incarcerated (2,239,751 people), to the appalling amount of drug offenders currently locked up, the failure of the 'war on drugs', the inequality of race in prison, the privatization of prisons, and more. Culminates in a Sesame Street-style song, with puppets:

  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    .......and we have people in belief that crime is going down...........

    If incarcerating more people than any nation in the world makes crime go down.....is there a connection between crime statistics and prison capacities? I can see that incarcerating more criminals would reduce crime, but is that really connect to a safer nation? It doesn't pass the smell test for some reason. There is a increase in innocent people being placed in prisons and on death row, so is that a crime? Is it a crime to incarcerate a person for the purpose of increasing labor in prison industries? Is it a crime to overlook the possibility of a person being innocent and forcing him/her to be penalized in paying for higher insurance, specialized training curbing crime, medical testing, local police fees, and custodial room & board in jail/prison fees. A long list of creative incarceration jail/prison industries have been produced on the notion that crime will provide the labor and funding.

    So, just how long will people just pay up until this nation determines there is an organization crime involved here. Sometimes the media sees a Judge or police get found liable for questionable criminal activity. The media also sees where some of this questionable criminal activity gets swept under the rug, thus nothing happens and the investigations stop. Sometimes the media gets to see where a Judge or police gets terminated or suspended, but rarely do you see where they end up in jail or prison.

    For many reasons and increased incarcerations in America is why I do not believe that crime is reducing in our country. It' just being hid by massaging the numbers to make statistics look more pleasing to us Americans. Most all accountants know how to manage the numbers or hide the factual accounting in statistical reporting. You can make the numbers say anything you want. However, the number of prisons and jails around the nation and the tax/bond increases to build/improve prisons and jails doesn't hide the fact, we have more criminals. Thus, more crime is apparent or our judicial system is criminally negligent in allowing organized crime producing prisoner industries.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    America's prisons are broken !!!!!!! How true.
    That was a fabulous video. Thanks for sharing it. I think this should be a more talked about topic.
    We're running prisons better.....look how much money we've saved..... SAD
    Thank you Ronald Reagan for transferring all of our mental patients to prisons.

    W A T C H
    T H E
    A B O V E
    V I D E O
  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Once again tonight, I could not help noticing: that 80% of the TV programs available to watch were showing some kind of crime story. And most of those seem to be violent crimes, often sexually motivated, with too many gruesome details. I had to keep "flipping the channels" for 45 minutes, just trying to find something "decent" to watch, that would not be disgusting, or giving a person nightmares.

    When TV began, in the 1950's, it was all innocent programming, like the weather & the local news, then the major events of the day, & let you know if any Wars were breaking out. They also had puppet shows, a wrestling match, & some baseball games. You had shows like "Leave it to Beaver" and "I Love Lucy" -- & the "cowboy" series, about Wild West "heroes" who came to the rescue if anyone needed help. (3 channels, max -- black & white). Over-all programming made you feel safe & comfortable, happy with America, & you went to bed able to easily fall asleep & have sweet dreams.

    NOW, there must be at least 40 channels on TV all the time, with stereo sound, & living color. It could be a paradise of shows, with comedy, musicals, serious drama, educational shows, etc. (Learn ballet, oil painting, & gourmet cooking in your spare time). With at least 5 major channels of the News, from almost any perspective, it should seriously encourage intelligent discussion, so we can better utilize our votes to run this democracy.

    But, recently, Politics has begun to dominate the News shows, & instead of polite discussion about the candidates, & important issues, it has begun to be mostly propaganda, character assassination, inaccurate sources, & outright LIES. Since much of this is being produced by certain of the National Parties themselves, pushing their own crooked agendas, it has corrupted most of our nation's elections, & our whole form of govt.

    TV can be a wonderful blessing on mankind, able to teach, entertain, inform, & even allow communication on a global scale, like nothing ever did before. I truly adore TV. But it is getting to be very twisted lately, with 80% of evening shows, being about crimes, rapes & murders, and gang violence, & psycho's running loose doing macabre & ritualistic sadistic activities. HOW can our youth grow up "normal" if ALL THEY SEE, is one form or another of idiocy or insanity, all week long? There are many shows about Witchcraft, also. Then, besides TV, there are other options including: X-Box, Video Games, etc, where the kids get to actually "participate" in the insanity. AHEM. What a great idea! TEACH our kids how to be NUTS! And let them practice it over & over again until they get it PERFECT! // So NOW, we wonder why so many of our people are in PRISON?
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    eternal flame Wrote: Once again tonight, I could not help noticing: that 80% of the TV programs available to watch were showing some kind of crime story. And most of those seem to be violent crimes, often sexually motivated, with too many gruesome details. I had to keep "flipping the channels" for 45 minutes, just trying to find something "decent" to watch, that would not be disgusting, or giving a person nightmares.

    When TV began, in the 1950's, it was all innocent programming, like the weather & the local news, then the major events of the day, & let you know if any Wars were breaking out. They also had puppet shows, a wrestling match, & some baseball games. You had shows like "Leave it to Beaver" and "I Love Lucy" -- & the "cowboy" series, about Wild West "heroes" who came to the rescue if anyone needed help. (3 channels, max -- black & white). Over-all programming made you feel safe & comfortable, happy with America, & you went to bed able to easily fall asleep & have sweet dreams.

    NOW, there must be at least 40 channels on TV all the time, with stereo sound, & living color. It could be a paradise of shows, with comedy, musicals, serious drama, educational shows, etc. (Learn ballet, oil painting, & gourmet cooking in your spare time). With at least 5 major channels of the News, from almost any perspective, it should seriously encourage intelligent discussion, so we can better utilize our votes to run this democracy.

    But, recently, Politics has begun to dominate the News shows, & instead of polite discussion about the candidates, & important issues, it has begun to be mostly propaganda, character assassination, inaccurate sources, & outright LIES. Since much of this is being produced by certain of the National Parties themselves, pushing their own crooked agendas, it has corrupted most of our nation's elections, & our whole form of govt.

    TV can be a wonderful blessing on mankind, able to teach, entertain, inform, & even allow communication on a global scale, like nothing ever did before. I truly adore TV. But it is getting to be very twisted lately, with 80% of evening shows, being about crimes, rapes & murders, and gang violence, & psycho's running loose doing macabre & ritualistic sadistic activities. HOW can our youth grow up "normal" if ALL THEY SEE, is one form or another of idiocy or insanity, all week long? There are many shows about Witchcraft, also. Then, besides TV, there are other options including: X-Box, Video Games, etc, where the kids get to actually "participate" in the insanity. AHEM. What a great idea! TEACH our kids how to be NUTS! And let them practice it over & over again until they get it PERFECT! // So NOW, we wonder why so many of our people are in PRISON?
    As always...you're right on point. I've often wondered why they never came up with the math channel....or the health channel...educating kids as opposed to corrupting them....It's just like it was in the 1200's...keep the people stupid while the kings run off with the booty and the priests calming the masses with the Jesus juice