“Of course, the unfortunate thing is that the US government is 'actively stockpiling weapons to use against its own people' (no one cares about it using them against other people). You don't end up with 2.3 million Americans in prison cells by asking them nicely. You force them in at the point of a gun. The FBI alone gets over $8 billion a year to do this. Federal prisons get over $8 billion to keep them there. Is that the same as the sort of political repression that goes on in Syria or Iran? No, it's different. The people getting shot in the streets by security forces are usually Black or Latino. And no one has anywhere near the size prison population that America does.”—Charles Davis, Stockpiling inmates
“This gets to the heart of what went wrong in America in the years following the mandatory-sentencing and Three Strikes crazes. We removed the human element from the justice process and turned our courts into giant unthinking machines for sweeping our problem citizens under a rug.”—Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Shame of Three Strikes Laws | Politics News | Rolling Stone
“As long as profit remains an incentive to incarcerate human beings and our corporate state abounds in surplus, redundant labor, there is little chance that the prison system will be reformed. It is making our corporate overlords wealthy. Our prisons serve the engine of corporate capitalism, transferring state money to private corporations. These corporations will continue to stymie rational prison reform because the system, however inhumane and unjust, feeds corporate bank accounts. At its bottom the problem is not race—although race plays a huge part in incarceration rates—nor is it finally poverty; it is the predatory nature of corporate capitalism itself. And until we slay the beast of corporate capitalism, until we wrest power back from corporations, until we build social institutions and a system of governance designed not to profit the few but foster the common good, our prison industry and the horror it perpetuates will only expand.”—Chris Hedges: The Shame of America’s Gulag - Chris Hedges’ Columns - Truthdig
“We have got to awaken from this colorblind slumber that we've been in to the reality of race in America.”—
I just listened to a really powerful, informative speech by this person on KBOO just now, about incarceration + race in the US and the war on drugs. Important stuff! her book here, the radio program here
absurdlakefront replied to your post:
The fourth amendment is coming to mean nothing, just like the first, fifth and sixth amendments in the face of our paranoid security obsessed state. The eighth has been disregarded at black sites for years. All distressing and the public sleeps.
Tru dat. And beyond the black sites of the GWOT era (continuing under Obama, executive orders notwithstanding), the disintegration of the 8th continues in our very own incarceration nation (prisoners in solitary and CMU’s as but one example).
“The United States, with less than 5 percent of the world's population, has about one-quarter of its prisoners. As you noted, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Over 2.4 million persons are in state or federal prisons and jails - a rate of 751 out of every 100,000. Another 5 million are under some sort of correctional supervision such as probation or parole (PEW 2008). The US remains the last of the post-industrial so-called First World nations that still retains the death penalty, and we use it often. Nearly 3,500 inmates await execution in 35 states and at the federal level. It was not until the early 21st century that the US abolished capital punishment for juveniles and those with IQs below 70. One in every 35 adults is under correctional supervision and one in 100 adults is in prison. Looking at the racial dynamics, one in every 100 black women, one in 36 Latino adults, one in 15 black men, and one in nine black men ages 20 to 34 are incarcerated (Pew 2008). Approximately 50% of all prisoners are black, 30% are white and 17% are Latino (Bureau of Justice Statistics 2007). Notably, the race of victim, race of offender, and social class remain the best predictors of who will receive the death penalty.”— Nancy A. Heitzeg, professor at St. Catherine University in Minnesota in March 2010 interview “The Racialization of Crime and Punishment”
US = Incarceration Nation
Over the past 3 decades, the number of prison inmates in the US has increased by more than 600%, leaving it the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world.
—Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002.
Yes, we really are the Incarceration Nation. Should we change the laws and/or the system, or do we just have “worse” people?