Tag Archives: mass incarceration

Racism, Mass Incarceration, and the United States “Justice” System

The Progressive Cynic

© Josh Sager – October 2013

prison_by_cnv-d27lsxb

Picture by CNV

The United States has the dubious distinction of being the country which imprisons a larger percentage of our population than any other country on earth. Out of every 100,000 Americans, 716 are currently in jail—to put this into perspective, here are imprisonment statistics for several countries that have regularly been demonized for their repressive governments:

  • Cuba: 510 inmates per 100,000 citizens
  • Russia: 475 inmates per 100,000 citizens
  • Iran: 284 inmates per 100,000 citizens
  • Zimbabwe: 129 inmates per 100,000 citizens

The United States is not a small country by any means, thus our high incarceration rates translate to truly staggering numbers of people in jail. According to the most recent estimates, nearly 2.2 million Americans are currently serving time in the federal, state and local prison systems—in addition to those who are serving time, approximately 5.8 million Americans are on probation, on…

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How to really end mass incarceration

How to really end mass incarceration

“But this is no time to rest. Those who seek a fairer criminal justice system, unclouded by racial bias, must at a minimum demand that the government eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, which tie judges’ hands; rescind three-strikes laws, which often make no distinction between, say, armed assault and auto theft; amend “truth in sentencing” statutes, which prohibit early release for good behavior; and recalibrate drug policies, starting with decriminalization of marijuana possession and investment in substance-abuse prevention and treatment. Federal aid to state and local agencies, like the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant and the Community Oriented Policing Services, must prioritize diversion and rehabilitation over arrest and incarceration.”

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