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Author Topic: 1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars  (Read 2731 times) Average Rating: 0
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Bogoliubtsy
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« on: February 29, 2008, 02:33:43 AM »

What is going on here? A symptom of a much greater problem.


1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars, New Study Says

   
Published: February 28, 2008

For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars, according to a new report.


Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.

Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.

The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that only one in 355 white women between the ages of 35 and 39 are behind bars but that one in 100 black women are.

The report’s methodology differed from that used by the Justice Department, which calculates the incarceration rate by using the total population rather than the adult population as the denominator. Using the department’s methodology, about one in 130 Americans is behind bars.

Either way, said Susan Urahn, the center’s managing director, “we aren’t really getting the return in public safety from this level of incarceration.”

But Paul Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah and a former federal judge, said the Pew report considered only half of the cost-benefit equation and overlooked the “very tangible benefits — lower crime rates.”

In the past 20 years, according the Federal Bureau of Investigation, violent crime rates fell by 25 percent, to 464 for every 100,000 people in 2007 from 612.5 in 1987.

“While we certainly want to be smart about who we put into prisons,” Professor Cassell said, “it would be a mistake to think that we can release any significant number of prisoners without increasing crime rates. One out of every 100 adults is behind bars because one out of every 100 adults has committed a serious criminal offense.”

Ms. Urahn said the nation cannot afford the incarceration rate documented in the report. “We tend to be a country in which incarceration is an easy response to crime,” she said. “Being tough on crime is an easy position to take, particularly if you have the money. And we did have the money in the ‘80s and ‘90s.”

Now, with fewer resources available, the report said, “prison costs are blowing a hole in state budgets.” On average, states spend almost 7 percent on their budgets on corrections, trailing only healthcare, education and transportation.

In 2007, according to the National Association of State Budgeting Officers, states spent $44 billion in tax dollars on corrections. That is up from $10.6 billion in 1987, a 127 increase once adjusted for inflation. With money from bonds and the federal government included, total state spending on corrections last year was $49 billion. By 2011, the report said, states are on track to spend an additional $25 billion.

It cost an average of $23,876 dollars to imprison someone in 2005, the most recent year for which data were available. But state spending varies widely, from $45,000 a year in Rhode Island to $13,000 in Louisiana.

The cost of medical care is growing by 10 percent annually, the report said, and will accelerate as the prison population ages.

About one in nine state government employees works in corrections, and some states are finding it hard to fill those jobs. California spent more than $500 million on overtime alone in 2006.

The number of prisoners in California dropped by 4,000 last year, making Texas’s prison system the nation’s largest, at about 172,000. But the Texas legislature last year approved broad changes to the corrections system there, including expansions of drug treatment programs and drug courts and revisions to parole practices.

“Our violent offenders, we lock them up for a very long time — rapists, murderers, child molestors,” said John Whitmire, a Democratic state senator from Houston and the chairman of the state senate’s criminal justice committee. “The problem was that we weren’t smart about nonviolent offenders. The legislature finally caught up with the public.”

He gave an example.

“We have 5,500 D.W.I offenders in prison,” he said, including people caught driving under the influence who had not been in an accident. “They’re in the general population. As serious as drinking and driving is, we should segregate them and give them treatment.”

The Pew report recommended diverting nonviolent offenders away from prison and using punishments short of reincarceration for minor or technical violations of probation or parole. It also urged states to consider earlier release of some prisoners.

Before the recent changes in Texas, Mr. Whitmire said, “we were recycling nonviolent offenders.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/28/us/28cnd-prison.html?_r=1&WT.mc_id=GN-P-E-FB-WI-TXT-ME2-X-X-0000-NA&WT.mc_ev=click&partner=facebook&exprod=facebook&oref=slogin
« Last Edit: February 29, 2008, 02:34:10 AM by Bogoliubtsy » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2008, 02:50:23 AM »

It would be interesting to see what percentage of those incarcerated actually have a treatable mental illness.
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« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2008, 10:30:47 AM »

Indeed. I for one would like to see corrections more focused on rehabilitation and less on retribution. But, as the article pointed out, "Being tough on crime is an easy position to take." It just seems like too many people have the view of "once a criminal, always a criminal"--and so ever more money goes to building and staffing bigger jails.
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« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2008, 10:57:01 AM »

Indeed. I for one would like to see corrections more focused on rehabilitation and less on retribution. But, as the article pointed out, "Being tough on crime is an easy position to take." It just seems like too many people have the view of "once a criminal, always a criminal"--and so ever more money goes to building and staffing bigger jails.

I don't know about the US, but based on how cozy prisons are up here, it doesn't surprise me so many people are there.  There was a Toronto activist a couple years ago who openly encouraged the homeless and those on welfare with no family to take care of to commit a crime that would get them a prison sentence and one they could not possible pay the bail.  You'd live a much better life there where you get all your meals and medication, you get TV, you get reading material, you can pursue education, you can weight-train, etc.  Prison is not viewed as such an awful place to go to by those most at risk to end up there.
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« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2008, 12:41:39 PM »

Years ago people were held accountable- the parents, students, and teachers.  I totally agree with Ozgeorge re: mental health, but it seems we're doing our kids a huge disservice by not being able to discipline them.   Back then, authority rested with the teachers and parents.  Today, authority rests with the parents who can find an attorney to sue the teacher/school district.  Rather than focus on education, we now focus on children's individual rights (rights that, as minorities, they don't really have- sorry Timmy, you don't have a right to disrupt class by wearing an Insane Clown Posse t-shirt!  Sorry Sally, you cannot wear low-cut jeans to show off your thong that your step-dad bought for you.)  Instead of focusing on the three R's, we show kids how to put condoms on banana's.  They lack civility, respect, and discipline.  But not to worry- your tax dollars will provide for them.  Jails, food stamps, 50Cent and Brittney.  Halleluia, ain't America grand?
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« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2008, 03:34:00 PM »

If only the worst disruptions were Insane Clown Posse and low-cut jeans....

But you're right about discipline. We have children in our schools who are not afraid of the administration, because their parents will fight for them. Way too many parents refuse to believe that their children can do anything wrong. I totally understand parents' view that what their kids do it a reflection of them. The reality is that every kid mouths off to a teacher; every kid disrupts class; every kid forgets their homework. It's not a big deal--unless we tell the kids it's okay. Then we see far worse disruptions that come from a lack of respect for authority.
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« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2008, 03:43:15 PM »

But what is the root cause/causes of this lack of respect for oneself, human life, etc? A kid who mouths off to his teacher is just a mild symptom of a larger problem that "discipline" does not seem to be correcting. Why is this phenomenon specific to America? We can't say it's a lack of religion when Western Europe is much more secular than the US. So what is it?
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« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2008, 04:04:22 PM »

But what is the root cause/causes of this lack of respect for oneself, human life, etc? A kid who mouths off to his teacher is just a mild symptom of a larger problem that "discipline" does not seem to be correcting. Why is this phenomenon specific to America? We can't say it's a lack of religion when Western Europe is much more secular than the US. So what is it?

Just a very different mindset.  When I would compare my household to a very "Canadian" household, the differences in how people would treat each other, their parents, etc was shocking at times.  Many practically "owned" their parents and knew they could get away with murder, more or less.  I come from a very European household, so lessons in respect were very, er, physical  Tongue.  I knew if I got in trouble at school what I would be coming home to, and if my Nonna found out...  she may be up there in years, but she is as strong as an ox.

When I would go to Italy, sure, kids are little punks too, but they are still kids.  They are still taught lessons and disciplined when they act out.  Over here, I find children are treated as adults FAR too young, and once they hit a certain age, they are above discipline from school authorities and parents.  The only one people who can punish them then is the police and court system.  Even now, I still fear the wrath of family over that of any court system.  laugh
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« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2008, 04:32:38 PM »

1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars

... the other 99 are inside ordering beers.
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« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2008, 05:24:08 PM »

... the other 99 are inside ordering beers.
LOL! Thinking about the weekend already, eh?
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« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2008, 05:53:15 PM »

I don't know about the US, but based on how cozy prisons are up here, it doesn't surprise me so many people are there.  There was a Toronto activist a couple years ago who openly encouraged the homeless and those on welfare with no family to take care of to commit a crime that would get them a prison sentence and one they could not possible pay the bail.  You'd live a much better life there where you get all your meals and medication, you get TV, you get reading material, you can pursue education, you can weight-train, etc.  Prison is not viewed as such an awful place to go to by those most at risk to end up there.


There is a down  side to all that........and it's called "prison survival". Most of those people may not survive in prison.......well an American Prison.



They might be dead in a matter of days.





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« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2008, 06:09:19 PM »


There is a down  side to all that........and it's called "prison survival". Most of those people may not survive in prison.......well an American Prison.



They might be dead in a matter of days.





JNORM888

That depends what kind of prison we're talking about in the U.S. Not all prisons are made equal, just ask former Gov. George Ryan and former Cicero President Betty Loren Maltese, or even Martha Stewart about U.S. prison systems....

At any rate, I agree that children need to be disciplined. There is nothing wrong with slapping your kid for being obnoxious in my opinion, but then the kid can call up the cops and you can be arrested for Child Abuse these days, because all of the wonderful psychologists think that corporal punishment is awful and that it causes problems later in life. So we get parents who are quite lax when it comes to discipline giving a "We don't do that...." to correct errs on the part of their children...... Baka!

-Nick
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« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2008, 06:13:27 PM »

LOL! Thinking about the weekend already, eh?

I'm just thinking that Friday classes are immoral. 

As for prisons, the US incarceration rate is up there with China, Russia and Belarus... the executions are up there with China, Pakistan and Iran - obviously something to be proud of. 
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« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2008, 06:17:49 PM »

I'm just thinking that Friday classes are immoral. 

As for prisons, the US incarceration rate is up there with China, Russia and Belarus... the executions are up there with China, Pakistan and Iran - obviously something to be proud of. 

More execution = less prisoner cost/more space for new prisoners.

-Nick
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« Reply #14 on: February 29, 2008, 06:31:11 PM »

Interesting that a "free" country has an incarceration rate higher than most of the countries that it tries to "liberate". 
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« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2009, 12:08:24 AM »

Anyone venture a guess as to the % of military veterans who make up our homeless or incarcerated populations?
The recruiting ads never mention 'Army strong' becomes a vet wronged.
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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2014, 04:45:47 PM »

If only the worst disruptions were Insane Clown Posse and low-cut jeans....
....
The hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse and the American Civil Liberties Union have sued the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, accusing them of wrongly identifying the group's fan base as a criminal gang, violating its free speech rights.
....
In a press release, the Michigan chapter of the ACLU said that Juggalos "are not an organized fan club, but a group of people who bond over the music and a philosophy of life, much like 'Deadheads' bonded around the Grateful Dead."
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« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2014, 05:24:11 PM »

Are you allergic to starting new threads? Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2014, 05:27:47 PM »

Are you allergic to starting new threads? Smiley

Really, none of you have anything on Jetevan when it comes to thread resurrection. He is quite impressive. I really do marvel at his ability.
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« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2014, 05:53:23 PM »

Are you allergic to starting new threads? Smiley
Waste not, want not. (Whatever that means.)  Roll Eyes
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