Sunday, June 21, 2015

America Must Reform its Legal System and Its Penal System!

The Economist leads with an article titled "American prisons: The right choices".
No country in the world imprisons as many people as America does, or for so long. Across the array of state and federal prisons, local jails and immigration detention centres, some 2.3m people are locked up at any one time. America, with less than 5% of the world’s population, accounts for around 25% of the world’s prisoners. The system is particularly punishing towards black people and Hispanics, who are imprisoned at six times and twice the rates of whites respectively. A third of young black men can expect to be incarcerated at some point in their lives. The system is riddled with drugs, abuse and violence. Its cost to the American taxpayer is about $34,000 per inmate per year; the total bill is around $80 billion.
That $80 billion is of course only the cost of running the prisons payed by taxes. It does not include the an estimate of the human cost of the pain and suffering of the prisoners in the U.S. who would not be in prison had they lived in another country, nor the cost to the economy of the lost productivity from the folk who are in jail but should not be, nor of the loss of productivity from the folk who have been released but can not work due to their "criminal record".

The black states in the map shown above are mostly in states that once were Confederates in revolt against the Union. So you see a relationship between high state incarceration rates and high rates of incarceration of black and Hispanic people?

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