America leads the world in executing criminals and is among the few Western countries that still retain the death penalty.Via Intent Blog
We have among the harshest sentencing guidelines for non-violent felonies, including the three-strike law in several states, mandatory drug sentencing, and a federal policy (as ordered by former Attorney General John Ashcroft) that forces prosecutors to seek maximum penalties without leeway for plea bargaining.
More than half the prison population is being held for drug-related offenses, often for draconian periods of time--see the Rockefeller laws in New York where a few marijuana plants can land someone in jail for a decade or more . This, despite the well-documented research on the medical harmlessness of marijuana if used recreationally, the way millions of people use alcohol.
We imprison a far higher proportion of our population than any other Western country and perhaps more than any country in the world. On a state-by-state basis, Texas is in a class by itself, with 120 new prisons, for a growth of 706 percent over 21 years.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Deepak Chopra: Texas' overincarceration "in a class by itself"
Deepak Chopra says the Bush Administration's penchant for torture isn't the only reason the United States can no longer claim to provide the gold standard for human rights in the world. Our criminal justice system, especially in Texas, he argues, also disqualifies us for the role:
Posted by Gritsforbreakfast at 7:13 PM