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.