"In 1995, the most recent
year we can use for comparative purposes, the overall incarceration
rate for the United States was 600 per 100,000 population, including
local jails (but not juvenile institutions). Around the world,
the only country with a higher rate was Russia, at 690 per 100,000.
Several other countries of the former Soviet bloc also had high
rates-270 per 100,000 in Estonia, for example, and 200 in Romania-as
did, among others, Singapore (229) and South Africa (368). But
most industrial democracies clustered far below us, at around
55 to 120 per 100,000, with a few-notably Japan, at 36-lower still.
Spain and the United Kingdom, our closest "competitors among
the major nations of western Europe, imprison their citizens at
a rate roughly one-sixth of ours; Holland and Scandinavia, about
Elliott Currie, Crime and Punishment
"The number of people
in prison, in jail, on parole, and on probation in the U.S. increased
threefold between 1980 and 2000, to more than 6 million, and the
number of people in prison increased from 319,598 to almost 2
million in the same period. This buildup has targeted the poor,
and especially Blacks. In 1999, though Blacks were only 13 percent
of the U.S. population, they were half of all prison inmates.
In 2000, one out of three young Black men was either locked up,
on probation, or on parole. The military-industrial complex of
the 1950s, with its Cold War communist bogeyman, has been replaced
by a prison-industrial complex, with young Black "predators"
serving as its justification."
Dan Parkin, International Socialist
Review, Jan-Feb 2002, p69
" Steal $5, you're a thief;
steal $5 million, you're a financier."
" The United States is
way ahead of the rest of the industrial world in imprisoning its
own population. That's for population control. None of that has
anything to do with crime. "
Noam Chomsky, American linguist
and US media and foreign policy critic
"From 1984 to 1994, Califomia
built 21 prisons, and only one state university...the prison system
realized a 209% increase in funding, compared to a 15% increase
in state university funding."
The Justice Policy Institute (1996)
" Working class addiction
to crack (cocaine) is a crime. But, middle- and upper-class addiction
to drugs or alcohol is a disease. "
Sabina Virgo - Criminal Injustice
War on Drugs
"The U.S. has both the
largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration
in the world, including China and Russia. The U.S. incarcerates
people at a rate more than 15 times that of Japan, and its prison
population is more than eight times that of Italy, France, the
UK, Spain, and Australia combined."
International Socialist Review
"Increases in prison spending
[in the U.S.] average twice as high as increases in education
National Criminal Justice Commission
"The state of California
has opened only one college since 1984 -- and twenty-one prisons."
Elliott Currie, Crime and Punishment
* There are nearly four million
persons currently or permanently disenfranchised as a result of
laws that take away the voting rights of felons and ex-felons.
* No other democracy besides
the US. disenfranchises convicted offenders for life. Many democratic
nations, including Denmark, France, Israel and Poland, permit
prisoners to vote as well.
* Nearly three-quarters (73
percent) of the disenfranchised are not in prison but are on probation,
on parole or have completed their sentences.
* 1.4 million African American
men -- 13 percent of the adult African American male population
-- have lost the right to-vote, a rate of disenfranchisement that
is seven times the national average. By comparison, in the 1996
general election 4.6 million African American men voted.
* In Florida one in three African
American men has permanently lost the right to vote.
* In five states lowa, Mississippi,
New Mexico, Virginia, and Wyoming one in four black men (24% to
28%) have permanently lost the right to vote.
Rights, Justice and Reform