Friday, May 28, 2004
The U.S. Dept. of Justice
just released the latest figures on
American prisons. Currently, there
are 2.1 million people
Any time you hear America is a
democracy, where citizens have rights, remember that prisons represent our 35th
We have more people in prison than live in Nevada, West
Virginia, New Mexico, Nebraska, Maine, Idaho, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode
Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, or
According to a report by the Sentencing project, crime rates
been declining since 1990, but the prison population has risen by 49%
during this time.
America now is the greatest jailer on
earth. .... Our rate of imprisoning our citizens is approximately 600%
higher than either China or Canada.
Racially, things are even
worse. In historical perspective, the
899,000 African Americans
incarcerated today are nine times the
number of 98,000 in 1954, the year of
the Brown v. Board of Education decision. So there are now 900% more
blacks in prison today than there were 50 years ago, while the black population
has only doubled, or increased 100%.
Put another way, you can say that a
black person is nine times more likely to be held a prisoner today in the U.S.
than they were in 1954.
The huge surge in incarcerations are almost all
due to punitive and racist laws that criminalize behavior that is considered to
be minor in other countries. Among this are non-violent drug offenses, and
the notorious three strikes laws. For example, again using info from the
sentencing project, in California, which has a three strikes law, "the
third "strike" of more than half (57%) of these persons is for a non-violent
In one recent case, Santo Reyes
was sentenced to 26 years to life for trying to take the written portion of a
driver's license test for his illiterate cousin. Reyes had previously had a
conviction in 1981 and an adult robbery conviction in
In America we have imprisoned for life a man who committed two
robberies in 24 years, and then tried to take a written license test for his
illiterate cousin. ....
Aside from General Motors,
America's most thriving economy is its Prison Industry. Just like General
Motors, the judges, prosecutors, clerks, attorneys, law enforcement officers,
food & transportation industries, prison guards, gun manufacturers,
construction contractors make untold billions and billions of dollars
annually catering to this Industry.
Yes. the Prison
Industry is a very lucrative business upon which millions profit and
depend. The more prisons built, the more people they can
thrown in prison. Every prison must be
kept to overflow. The objective is to make sure there are no empty beds, for empty
beds are indicative of lost revenue to the Prison
Industry. Of all things, they must keep that
turn$tyle turning. The faster the better, racking up billion$ for more
construction for prisons, more guards, more lawyers, more judges, more police,
This is why, left to its own
conclusion, there shall never be a conclusion to crime on the streets, for
crime is so very profitable and important to the existence of government.
Without it, people would start questioning the need for so much government.
Crime gives the politicians the ammunition needed to sing their re-election
hymn, "Vote For Me," with its first stanzas, "I'm Tough On
Crime!" And so goes the American Prison Industry until it exceeds the
size of that of General Motors.
"..it does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless
minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.." - Samuel Adams
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who
striking at the
-- Henry David Thoreau