Monday, March 2, 2009

1 of every 31 US adults is incarcerated. Georgia has the highest incarceration rate, at 1 in every 13 adults. (New Hampshire has the lowest, at 1 in 88.)

1 in every 11 black adults is under some form of correctional supervision. cite

I don't have any brilliant commentary or deep analysis of these numbers. They just make me tired. And heart-sick. We throw so many people away and we do it so easily. With glee, almost. Heaven forbid we should actually do something to help people turn their lives around. Or prevent them from going down a self-destructive path to begin with. We could choose to invest, not just dabble in, things like early childhood development, education, and all those little things we know are the keys to keeping people from ever committing crimes in the first place, but instead we choose to invest in prisons. We could choose to treat drug addiction as a health issue, but we'd rather just endlessly incarcerate people.

I, for one, am tired of just locking more and more people up for longer and longer sentences. Seems like such a waste to me.


One Girl's Opinion said...

And aren't most of those drug related?

I'm with you on the drugs / health issue part! Most definitely.

Overall it's just so sad.

OH PS - I was thinking about you and Meryl yesterday. I was watching the Closer (which I do like) and while they were interviewing a suspect I just knew that none of it would stand up in court because she and her other cops just lied and manipulated the poor (guilty) guy.

Erin said...

Holy moly. I had no idea the stats were that high, especially among black men. Yipes.

S said...

It may only be getting worse. The legislature is considering a giant bill that would recodify a lot of the state's criminal code. It would make a lot of basic drug crimes person felonies. Having a prior person felony really jacks up sentence lengths for a new conviction. So all of a sudden, a guy with a couple of convictions for "distribution" (passing the bong at a party) is looking at a multi-year sentence.

The proposed legislation also does away with the separate drug sentencing grid and puts all crimes on one grid, categorizing them from severity level 1 (the worst) to severity level 10. Manufacture of meth would become a level 1, on par with intentional murder, kidnap, and rape. Gee, that seems reasonable!

lu said...

1 in 31?! i never thought it was that high. i am shocked. but when you consider the number of those locked up for drugs charges, i guess is makes 'sense.'

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