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Monday, 26 July 2004

War on drugs / Get Tough on Crime / Let's throw everybody in jail!

US criminal numbers hit new high

The US has nearly 6.9 million people - roughly 3.2% of the adult population - in prison or on probation or parole, a Justice Department report reveals

That's more than double the number of people in the military. The US Census Bureau reports that there are 15.9 million college students. 2.3 Million college students are black. So 14% of college kids are black.

The report also revealed 41% of people on parole last year were black, while 40% were white.

The Bureau of Justice reports, "At midyear 2003 there were 4,834 black male prisoners per 100,000 black males in the United States in prison or jail, compared to 1,778 Hispanic male inmates per 100,000 Hispanic males and 681 white male inmates per 100,000 white males."

The rise in the number of people in prison or on probation or parole has happened despite nationwide crime rates remaining relatively stable and despite efforts by some states to introduce softer sentencing laws in an attempt to cut prison costs, the New York Times newspaper says.

Maybe this is because the Bush adminstration has decided that "Pot . . . may pose a greater threat than cocaine or even heroin," which I beleive is also in the introduction to the movie Reefer Madness.

So lets' get this straight: prison populations are up despite non-rising (some say falling) crime rates and African Americans are overwhelmingly over-represented. We have, by a huge margin, the higest incarceration rates in the first world and are running much higher than several third world countries. Are we a free society or are we a police state where people are criminalized on the basis of race and victimless, common behaviors? Discuss.

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