This is one of those stories that makes me spend the day wondering what the hell is wrong with this country. A new study from the Pew Center shows that 1 in 99 adult Americans is behind bars right now. Not has been been incarcerated at some point in their lives. In prison or jail today, as you read this.

 And of course, the stats are even worse for minorities:

One in 36 adult Hispanic men is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 adult black men is, too, as is one in nine black men ages 20 to 34.

One in fucking nine!

And they wonder why Michelle Obama isn’t prouder of her country.

The United States, the land of the free, imprisons more of its population than any other country on earth, both in percentage terms and absolute terms. Communist China, with over a billion people, only has 1.5 million prisoners. We have 2 million.

Germany imprisons 93 out of every 100,000 of its citizens. We imprison 750 out of every 100,000.

So is there something intriniscally criminal about the American people that requires locking them up in so much greater numbers than any other people on earth? Are other countries allowing dangerous fiends to run wild? Or maybe, just maybe, do we have too many stupid laws — especially our insane drug laws — and a FUBAR justice system?

Hunter Thomspon was right. We have become a nation of jailers.

2 thoughts on “Disgraceful”

  1. The prohibition of alcohol in Americacreated corruption at every level of law enforcement and in the justice system.From the city mayors and judges to the street cops and ‘speak-easy’drinking clubs corruption was endemic.
    In the ’20s and ’30s the prohibition law created criminal barons such as Al Capone who was eventually sent to jail not for racketeering or murder but for not paying enough to the IRS.
    In Southern Italy they say that there they have the mafia but we in Britain have our government instead.
    When true justice prevails and the drug prohibition era is over then there will be real hope for this civilisation that has been brought to its knees by the combined vested interests of the military/industrial complex .
    The u.s uses the drug laws to destabilise the nations of south America and gives the CIA the excuse it needs to interfere in the affairs of the southern continent.The”War on Drugs’ is a war that cannot actually be won.The drug laws create the crime that gives the state the excuse it needs to spend millions of taxpayers dollars on what has ,in effect,bacome a police-state.
    If a commodity that is pleasuresome and extremely addictive has a profit ratio for the controllers of about 2000:1 then no amount of policing and DEA officers and threats of long-term prison sentences is going to make any difference to the current situation where american suberbs have become like a warzone in some of the poorer neighbourhoods.
    The pharmaceutical industry has colossal lobbying power in Washington and profits from the druglaws by the creation of synthetic drugs whoich are actually more damaging to the body but the addict often decides to opt for the legal sythetic version of heroin called methadone rather than risk taking low quality street heroin.Methadone is just as addictive but when it’s prescribed at least it hasn’t been cut with impurities by the dealers.
    When the drug laws are repealed then the political establishment will have to do something real to alleviate inner city poverty and social exclusion rather than dishonestly shrug and let the drug-culture fill the economic vacuum,the unstated presumption being ‘if they can’t get work they might as well deal’.The result has been the appalling statistics that you quote and the resultant race-tensions and prejudice and stigmatisation.
    It’s easy for a poorly educated white supremacist to believe that he’s superior when so many African /Americans are languishing in jails many of whom never had a chance in a society that has wanted them to be criminalised.The political elites who allow these laws to remain in the statute book are the true culprits .
    I pray that Barack Obama wins the Presidency.He is an expert in civil-rights and has devoted much of his working life to inner-city community projects.He has integrity and understands the plight of the African-Americans and the Hispanics.Repealing the drug laws will be the start of a true revival of humane social politics.I don’t know what his formal stand on the drug laws is but he is certainly aware of how they have been used in a cynical way by the predominantly white political elite .
    I realise it is a dangerous subject to get worked-up about.So much government propaganda for so many years has rendered the subject almost taboo for sane and sensible debate.
    In the U.K. the prisons are full with nearly 80,000 of the general population of about 60,000,000 incarcerated.
    According to independent research,over 80% of house burglaries are as a direct consequence of the drug-laws.
    The prime minister Gordon Brown has been told by the governments’ special advisary committee that cannabis should remain a ‘Class C’ drug.
    Apparently he is considering reclassifying it back to class B,thereby making just possession of fairly small quantities an imprisonable offence.
    It is almost as if the major drugs dealers have got the governments in their pockets because they and the private security companies that have started running some of the prisons are the only beneficiaries of these laws.The losers are every single law abiding citizen who lives in any of the big towns and cities that have been blighted by the drug-culture,everyone who’s ever been burgled, attacked or mugged , every small-time dealer and drug-mule who’s been unfortunate enough to have been caught or set-up by the police and every unfortunate innocent life lost to a violent and gun-ridden culture.
    I have received death-threats in the past for expressing my feelings on the subject .We’ve got to have faith that wisdom will prevail and the prohibition era ends soon,for everyone’s sake.

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