We hit a new low in the national shame of the United States this week. One in every 31 American citizens is doing time or is on parole. The incarceration rate doubled in 25 years.
“Violent and career criminals need to be locked up, and for a long time. But our research shows that prisons are housing too many people who can be managed safely and held accountable in the community at far lower cost,” said Adam Gelb, director of the Center’s Public Safety Performance Project, which produced the report.
The United States has the highest incarceration rate and the biggest prison population of any country in the world, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Most of those in the U.S. corrections system — one in 45 — are already on probation or parole, with one in 100 in prison or jail, the Pew study found.
Those numbers are higher in certain areas of the country, and Georgia tops all states with one in 13 adults in the justice system. The other leading states are Idaho, where one in 18 are in corrections and Texas, where the rate is one in 22. In the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., nearly 5 percent of adults are in the city’s penal system.
The one thriving business the USA has is the commerce of incarceration.
Build the prisons and prisoners will be found to fill the empty spaces.
Last year America spent $53 billion on prisons; the average cost per-prisoner was $29,000.00USD a year while probation was only $1,250.00USD and parole was $2,650 per inmate.
Community sentencing is failing the world over — so where do we go now? Build more prisons? At what national cost? Do we cut more healthcare for children to pay for a larger, and more dangerous, prison population?
Or must we tear down the prison walls and find a real way to re-educate and rehabilitate those that choose a criminal life over a morally lawful one?