U.S. Imprisonment Rate Per 100,000 Residents, 1978-2012
The US incarcerates more people per capita than any other nation in the world: Approximately 1 in 100 adults or more than 2.2 million people are behind bars in the US, according to the Pew Center on the States. In addition, another 4.6 million (or a total of almost 7 million) people live under some form of correctional supervision.
Mass incarceration is not a result of higher crime rates: The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world not because it has higher crime rates, but because it imprisons more types of criminal offenders, including non-violent and drug offenders, and keeps them in prison longer. With the exception of homicide, US crime rates are comparable to other European countries with much lower incarceration rates.
Mass incarceration disproportionately impacts US racial minorities: Mass incarceration has had a devastating effect on blacks and Hispanics in the US. African Americans are six times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person and non-white Latinos are almost three times more likely to be incarcerated, according to the Pew Center on the States.
Incarceration hits hardest at young black and Latino men without high school education. An astounding 11 percent of black men, aged between 20 and 34, are behind bars. Much of the racial disparity is a result of the US’ war on drugs - started by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. By 1988, blacks were arrested on drug charges at five times the rate of whites. By 1996, the rate of drug admissions to state prison for black men was 13 times greater than the rate for white men. This is despite the fact that African Americans use drugs at roughly the same rate as white Americans.
Mass incarceration is expensive: Imprisoning people is not cheap. The average cost of housing an inmate is approximately $20,000 to $30,000 per year. This price tag comes at the direct expense of public money that could be spent on public education, medical care and public assistance. And it is one reason why so many states face fiscal crises today.
It’s nice to see that my current state (Minnesota) is one of the best on this issue, but the map as a whole is devastating.
2:41 pm |
April 23 2014
| 276 notes
“Over the last year, thanks in large part to illegal leaks, we’ve learned that we’re living in a [REDACTED] republic. In the president’s version of ‘transparency,’ the Americans have no right to debate even the most basic public questions — like the legal standards for spying on or killing American citizens — unless, of course, that information leaks, at which point the administration ‘welcomes’ the debate.”
— Gene Healy, "The Most [REDACTED] Administration in History"
2:32 pm |
April 23 2014
| 22 notes
Let’s Give Every NSA Employee an Anonymous Whistleblowing Opportunity
What if every NSA employee and contractor was required, once a year, to fill out an anonymous civil liberties survey? The anonymity of respondents would be persuasively guaranteed, and a multiple choice format would prevent the disclosure of any classified information.
1. The NSA targets the communications of American citizens
2. In the last year I have witnessed Fourth Amendment violations
a) 0 times
b) 1 to 5 times
c) 5 to 10 times
d) 10 to 100 times
e) more than 100 times
3. Civil-liberties protections used by the NSA are
b) more than adequate
c) only sometimes effective
d) totally ineffective
4. Congressional oversight of the NSA is
a) if anything too onerous
b) just right
d) failing to stop serious abuses
e) Congress isn’t even aware of serious abuses
5. To your knowledge, how many of your colleagues are violating the law or the rights of Americans?
b) one outlier
c) a few
d) a significant number
e) more employees than not
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
10:06 am |
April 22 2014
| 275 notes
“The fact that war is the word we use for almost everything—on terrorism, drugs, even poverty—has certainly helped to desensitize us to its invocation; if we wage wars on everything, how bad can they be?”
— Glenn Greenwald (via moralanarchism)
10:03 am |
April 22 2014
| 445 notes
“That’s one big reason why our rulers are constantly coming up with new foreign ‘enemies’ — to take Americans’ minds off their real enemies, who live Washington, D.C., rather than in Moscow or some cave in Afghanistan.
The War Party’s big problem, however, is that Americans aren’t falling for this old trick anymore. The past decade has wised them up considerably, and their cynicism when it comes to their own government is boundless. Every poll taken over the past few years has shown that their foreign policy of choice consists of ‘minding our own business’ — the exact opposite view of our warlike elites, who constantly warn us against the alleged dangers of ‘isolationism.’”
— Justin Raimondo, "Is there hope?"
12:59 pm |
April 21 2014
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“We literally watched all of Compton during the times that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people.”
— Ross McNutt of Persistence Surveillance Systems, describing the mass surveillance system used in the city of Compton, CA by the sheriff’s department in 2012, capturing high-resolution video of everything that happened inside that 10-square-mile municipality.
12:46 pm |
April 21 2014
| 37 notes