Justice is harsher in America than in any other rich country. Between 2.3m and 2.4m Americans are behind bars, roughly one in every 100 adults. If those on parole or probation are included, one adult in 31 is under “correctional” supervision. As a proportion of its total population, America incarcerates five times more people than Britain, nine times more than Germany and 12 times more than Japan. Overcrowding is the norm. Federal prisons house 60% more inmates than they were designed for. State lock-ups are only slightly less stuffed.Definitely read the rest. I agree with most of what's written here, and most of it goes double for Texas, where one adult in 22, as opposed to one in 31, is under the control of the criminal justice system. An excellent macro-analysis; the comments were interesting as well.
The system has three big flaws, say criminologists. First, it puts too many people away for too long. Second, it criminalises acts that need not be criminalised. Third, it is unpredictable. Many laws, especially federal ones, are so vaguely written that people cannot easily tell whether they have broken them.
Monday, July 26, 2010
"Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little"
I should reference this notable Economist piece on US incarceration policies, "Too many laws, too many prisoners: Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little," which touches on many themes common to this blog. Here's a taste:
Posted by Gritsforbreakfast at 8:04 AM