just procrastinating

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Too Many Criminals?
This from Andrew Sullivan has been kind of bugging me lately:
Land of the Jailed

King's College, London, just out put their latest PDF report on rates of imprisonment in the world. The rates are given as the number of prison inmates per 100,000 people in the population at large. It's pretty staggering that by far the highest rates of imprisonment occur in the U.S. The U.S. rate is 724 for every 100,000 people - up from 505 in 1992. Of major countries, the only close competitor is Russia with 581, and Cuba at 487. Iran and Israel, to give examples of countries with internal conflict, clock in at 206 and 209 respectively. Most major U.S. allies are in the 130 range or lower. I'm not sure what any of this proves. But this much we can say: the land of the free is also the land of the unfree. Millions of them. Texas, by the way, has an imprisonment rate of well over 1,000. There's no country on the planet - no dictatorship on earth - as confortable with locking people up as the state of Texas. The detention policies of the current administration may be more understandable in this context.

Is there something about Americans that make us more criminal? Of course not. We've got too many cops with nothing to do and too many bullshit laws (i.e. War on Drugs) that have prison sentences. People should be more outraged about this kind of thing.

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