U.S. Has Most Prisoners in World Due To Tough Laws

U.S. Has Most Prisoners in World Due To Tough Laws
Posted by CN Staff on December 09, 2006 at 13:49:07 PT
By James Vicini
Source: Reuters 
Washington, DC -- Tough sentencing laws, record numbers of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the United States having the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world, according to criminal justice experts.A U.S. Justice Department report released on November 30 showed that a record 7 million people -- or one in every 32 American adults -- were behind bars, on probation or on parole at the end of last year. Of the total, 2.2 million were in prison or jail.
According to the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College in London, more people are behind bars in the United States than in any other country. China ranks second with 1.5 million prisoners, followed by Russia with 870,000.The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people in the highest, followed by 611 in Russia and 547 for St. Kitts and Nevis. In contrast, the incarceration rates in many Western industrial nations range around 100 per 100,000 people.Groups advocating reform of U.S. sentencing laws seized on the latest U.S. prison population figures showing admissions of inmates have been rising even faster than the numbers of prisoners who have been released."The United States has 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population. We rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens," said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports alternatives in the war on drugs."We now imprison more people for drug law violations than all of western Europe, with a much larger population, incarcerates for all offenses."Ryan King, a policy analyst at The Sentencing Project, a group advocating sentencing reform, said the United States has a more punitive criminal justice system than other countries. More People To Prison"We send more people to prison, for more different offenses, for longer periods of time than anybody else," he said.Drug offenders account for about 2 million of the 7 million in prison, on probation or parole, King said, adding that other countries often stress treatment instead of incarceration.Commenting on what the prison figures show about U.S. society, King said various social programs, including those dealing with education, poverty, urban development, health care and child care, have failed."There are a number of social programs we have failed to deliver. There are systemic failures going on," he said. "A lot of these people then end up in the criminal justice system."Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in California, said the high prison numbers represented a proper response to the crime problem in the United States. Locking up more criminals has contributed to lower crime rates, he said."The hand-wringing over the incarceration rate is missing the mark," he said.Scheidegger said the high prison population reflected cultural differences, with the United States having far higher crimes rates than European nations or Japan. "We have more crime. More crime gets you more prisoners."Julie Stewart, president of the group Families Against Mandatory Minimums, cited the Justice Department report and said drug offenders are clogging the U.S. justice system."Why are so many people in prison? Blame mandatory sentencing laws and the record number of nonviolent drug offenders subject to them," she said. Newshawk: Sinsemilla Jones Source: Reuters (Wire)Author:  James ViciniPublished: December 9, 2006Copyright: 2006 Reuters FAMM Policy Alliance Justice Archives
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Comment #14 posted by whig on December 10, 2006 at 16:04:40 PT
Bad cops, bad cops, whatchagonnado?
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Comment #13 posted by BGreen on December 10, 2006 at 14:43:47 PT
Plain clothed cops NEVER do raids
I've watched the TV show, COPS, for years now and the undercover cops always call in marked units to do traffic stops and uniformed cops and SWAT teams to do raids.There should NEVER be a situation where cops in civilian clothes are the entry people in a raid.Ms. Johnston was an innocent victim of a felonious home invasion and the perpetrators were members of the Atlanta police department.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #12 posted by BGreen on December 10, 2006 at 14:31:14 PT
My God, if THAT is the idiotic thought process
of today's young people then we are ROYALLY screwed!Was Ms. Johnston a Marine? Are cops expert marksmen? How in the world do we use that lame 4-step Marine murder guide when we constantly drop 500 pound bombs from jets using our Air Force?Obviously, using this mentally unbalanced writer's convoluted reasoning, the undercover f* &-ups in this raid had their guns drawn ready to execute Ms. Johnston before they even busted down the door, so in reality we can assume that Ms. Johnston reacted in self-defense.Guns DO kill and maim people, contrary to this college "dee dee dee," because there has never been a death by gunshot that didn't involve a gun or it's ammunition.I don't own a gun so I guarantee you that I will NEVER be able to harm you by shooting you, and by GOD it's my right to never be harmed by anybody else, including idiotic college students and cops.The DARE generation has some genetic misfits, that's for sure, and without a doubt, Shane Vaiskauskas, a junior from Hampton majoring in biology, is their poster child.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #11 posted by Truth on December 10, 2006 at 11:07:03 PT
she knew
She did identify her targets. They were unmarked armed gunmen breaking into her house in the middle of the night. 
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Comment #10 posted by whig on December 10, 2006 at 11:00:40 PT
Kathryn Johnston was murdered.
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Comment #9 posted by John Tyler on December 10, 2006 at 08:40:12 PT
part of the culture
This whole prison thing goes back to the late 1800s when the South used every trick they could think of to imprison as many blacks as possible after slavery ended. (If they could be convicted of a felony they could be committed to prison slavery, remember the chain gangs, and they would permanently lose their right to vote.) It was based on racism and classism. We did the same thing in the 1980s with crack cocaine. Thousands of blacks were arrested and sentences to 25 years in prison. It has become so ingrained in the American culture no one thinks anything about it anymore. 
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Comment #8 posted by cannabliss on December 10, 2006 at 08:09:38 PT
response to #7 link quote:"Will anyone be surprised if some innocent parties, confronted by such a home invasion, reach for their own bedside shotguns, with loss of life resulting?" I asked back in June. "Or will we simply be told, 'They brought it on themselves, all they had to do was obey the orders ...' of strange home invaders shouting at them in the dead of night?"
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on December 10, 2006 at 04:13:19 PT
About the dead 92 / 88 year old Kathryn Johnston:
US GA: Edu: OPED: Woman Died From Misuse of a Firearm
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on December 10, 2006 at 04:05:28 PT
A / the demon.
Young black men victims of a demonThis is in regard to the recent arrests in Poughkeepsie.The unfamiliar spirits that are attacking our babies are workers of Satan. They are writing so many lies, making them up one by one to destroy and kill these spirits. To put them behind bars with no justice. They have already called them guilty. They have labeled them killers. The real killers are the demons that pursue them. I know it and Poughkeepsie knows it.Lets not get it twisted. God sees it all and says no more. This is a cry out for all black men who have been victimized by this system. Corritta Smith
Poughkeepsie, New York Pubdate: 10 Dec 2006---Also on that page: Decriminalize drugs to reduce crime rate---A letter writer could tie the demon to over incarceration... racism ... prohibition... non-fiscal conservatism... social failure... lack of compassion... the system is working fine because it is set up to cage minorities... etc. etc. Contact: 
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Comment #5 posted by goneposthole on December 09, 2006 at 16:03:42 PT
2.2 million prisoners
Another 297.8 million more held hostage.After the fences get built across the US/Mexico border and one along the Canadian/US border, all 300 million will be prisoners.100,000 Iraqis are leaving Iraq each month. Iraqis have more freedom of movement than Americans do.The former Governor of South Dakota, Bill Janklow was driving drunk, killed a motorcyclist, and received 100 day jail sentence.Just more stupid hypocrisy tainting the justice system.Feckless, ridiculous laws against a plant have created pure chaos.It's a shame and a disgrace. There is a better way. 
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Comment #4 posted by rchandar on December 09, 2006 at 15:12:12 PT:
one more thing...
Americans are poorly equipped for any real kind of "democracy" because of our history. Democracy is evidenced in the writing and struggles of men such as Vaclav Havel, in his work "Living In Truth". Havel had to critique and resolve the injustices of a powerful and pervasive totalitarianism, and elucidate the principles of a truly free society. Gandhi was another very good example; he took moral concepts and human dignity as the basis for organizing and making active a people rendered subject, inhuman, inferior.Now Americans are NOT democratic: our history is a very complacent one. We won our independence from a distant foreign power with little real commercial interest in us--Britain was undergoing the Industrial Revolution, & had colonies elsewhere. We were virtually unchallenged in the conquering of vast regions filled with seemingly limitless natural resources. Low taxes and promising industries lured millions of immigrants. Yet until the 1960s, there was no true tradition of any kind of dissent, critique, or social activism. And we see where that "tradition" lies today--cheapened, isolated, denigrated, overshadowed by a vast capitalist superstructure. America has NEVER valued diversity--it has continually preached and coerced absolute conformity of lifestyle and social behavior. We are, in short, a far cry from a "democracy" because we don't value much the importance of "being different"--it's an exception, not a rule.
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Comment #3 posted by rchandar on December 09, 2006 at 14:47:28 PT:
it shows...
that we're an intolerant people. That we don't value diversity or dissent, that we have huge sums of money we want to concentrate in the hands of the few and moralize and dehumanize those who would dare challenge that system of control. The reality of today's "America" isn't a free and democratic society; it's a society of personally agonizing and socially suffocating conformity and adherence to arbitrary norms and ideas. Picture Michael Douglass in "Falling Down," a movie from 1993:"I am just disagreeing with you! In America, we have the freedom of speech, the right to disagree!""Nick": "Fuck you and your freedom. You faggot fuck! I oughta shoot you now, you gimpy motherfucker! You're going to jail, motherfucker! How's that for freedom? Freedom to get fucked up the ass by some big butt nigger!"Unfortunately, in my opinion, most Americans today are like "Nick", the Nazi storeowner. Don't tolerate dissent. Identify the "bad" apples and treat them the worst, as quickly as you can. Preserve the order. No dissent, please.--rchandar
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 09, 2006 at 14:10:08 PT
Sinsemilla Jones 
You're welcome and thank you.
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Comment #1 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on December 09, 2006 at 13:53:32 PT
Wow, FoM, that was quick!
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