The information in this paragraph came from Forbes and Money Magazine. The
prison industry is worth $37 billion dollars. In August of last year Charlotte, NC hosted the American Correctional System Association. Over 400 vendors attended selling things like: beds, modular jail cells, suicide resistant toilets, toothbrushes, uniforms, etc. In case you’re wondering, the modular jail cells come into play when they’re building or remodeling prisons. Builder’s use tese cell kits instead of having to build individual cells; this way there’s
uniformity in their construction. This jail cell modular’s also come with beds, built-in lighting, and toilets.
I would like to mention something regarding the $37 billion dollars listed above because I think this number is way low. The reason I say this is that I don’t think they analyzed it correctly. It would have been more accurate if they took the annual budgets of each prison system and divided it by the total number of inmates. Plus there’s the cost of building the prison in the first place so this should be a prorated expense applied to each inmate as well. By doing it this way the entire costs of keeping them incarcerated would be applied (i.e. guard salaries, maintenance costs, office supplies, etc.). This is just a rough draft on my part but I believe the costs are closer to $46 billion which is 25% more than their projections.
The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. Less than 1% of our population is incarcerated although I’m sure there’re a lot more people who should be behind bars. I saw a lot of conflicting data in reference to the increase or decrease in crime over the last decade (many researchers state it’s only up a few
percentage points). But in pulling the raw data from the DOJ’s database (I didn’t have to hack in) I found that in the last ten years crime has risen 18.4%. Why the spread is so far off I couldn’t tell you but in one case I did find an incorrect formula. The increase in crime is more than likely due to law enforcement’s “War on Drugs.”The crimes were already being committed it’s just the police departments were given added resources to where they could finally start picking these criminals up.
We’re in terrible company in reference to our extremely high incarceration rate because we’re followed by Russian then Rwanda. The safest countries to live in are England, Norway, and the Netherlands (although the Netherlands are pretty open to drug use). Here in the U.S. Maine, Minnesota, and New Hampshire are the safest states to live in while Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma are the most dangerous.
There’re over 2,000,000 prisoners in our County, Federal, and State correctional facilities and around 5,000,000 who are either on parole or probation. If we add these two together around 3% of our population are criminals.
Around 70% of prisoners are non-whites. The percentage of blacks who commit crimes is more than four times higher than whites and over two times higher than Latinos. The numbers above are calculated correctly as researchers take into consideration the number of blacks in our country and the number of them who commit crimes.
There’s no doubt in my mind that blacks on average have worse attorneys than whites so their likelihood of incarceration is higher. This still doesn’t mean their innocent of a crime it’s just that good attorneys can get clients off on technicalities. But their claim of being
unjustly targeted isn’t legitimate.
First of all, both blue collar and white collar blacks are rarely arrested just like in the white community. In the communities where a majority of crimes take place, which are where there’s public housing and a lot of welfare participants, black police officers are the
primary law enforcers. This is done to create better relationships between the police department and the black community. Blacks are committing crimes against other blacks and black police officers are arresting them not white officers who are racially profiling. In order to reduce the amount of black prisoners who are in jail they need to stop committing crimes especially since they are only hurting people in their own communities. From a factual data perspective researchers could easily come to the conclusion that blacks hate blacks more than whites hate blacks.
Men comprise 93% of our prison population and 41% of them are repeat offenders. It may sound hard to believe but we only have around 110,000 women in federal and state prisons. Non U.S. citizens make up 27% of our federal prison population while overall they comprise 6% of our total prison population.
Over half of the prisoners in state prisons are violent offenders (i.e. armed robbery, murder, rape, etc.). As a percentage it’s up quite dramatically but we need to keep in mind that due to a shortage of prison cells, minor offenders are getting to walk more than they used to in
order to make room for the violent criminals.
Tax payers in California spend $47,102 on each inmate per year while the best deal belongs to Louisiana taxpayers who only spend $13,000. Federal prisons do a fairly good job as they average $22,632 per inmate ($62.01 per day). Keep in mind that I believe these numbers are low because my projections (as seen above) are $46 billion not $37 billion. As a side note, the annual amount of money spent on phone service for inmates is $9 billion dollars which is roughly $500 a year per prisoner. This is another major contract some vendor is getting. There’s no doubt in mind that corruption exist when assigning which vendor will get the contract.
There‘re over 500,000 people in jail awaiting trial because they can’t afford to bond out. This backlog of in-house prisoners is due directly to not having enough resources to process them through our judicial system. The right to a speedy trial has been thrown out the window. With this in mind U.S. taxpayers have to spend over nine billion dollars a year
to house them. I wonder if there would be a better return on our taxpayer investment if we put the $9 billion towards increasing the number of attorneys, clerks, and judges.
As I mentioned earlier prison overcrowding is a terrible problem for our judicial system. We aren’t building correctional facilities fast enough because legislators don’t want the added pressure on their budgets. They’ve been turning down repeated requests for more money at the country, federal, and state levels for a long time. The bottom line is that none of them want to give up other items in their budgets to allocate the necessary funds to keep criminals behind bars.
We all know prison overcrowding leads to various offenders (sometimes violent), getting out of prison before serving their full sentences. Most of them can get their sentences cut in half if they don’t get in trouble while serving their time. Could you imagine if you or a family member was hurt by one of these criminals and instead of serving ten years for the crime he gets out in five? I wonder if any of the lawmakers turning down requests to build more prisons has ever been a victim of a violent crime.
Here’s what you probably don’t know; instead of allocating the necessary funds towards building more prisons Congress pulled an end around on taxpayers and the U.S. Supreme Court back in 2004. Without our knowledge Congress ordered Federal Judges to reduce prison sentences even though sentencing guidelines had already been established. This is some verbiage their mandate included: “It is necessary to recognize that imprisonment
is not an appropriate means of promoting correction and rehabilitation.”
Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist slammed Congress over this issue. Why in the world did they not involve the Supreme Court in an issue that directly affects them? Once again, think budget.
If you want to know more about what Congress did just Google:“Downward Departures” and you’ll find a lot of material to peruse. This term describes what happened because there was a “downward departure” from normal sentencing guidelines.
It blows my mind that Congress would even put in writing that prison time isn’t effective. They’re completely wrong in what they’re saying. First of all, 59% of prisoners consider their first jail experience something they never want to experience again so they do not become
repeat offenders. Secondly, lives have been changed because of the education prisoners have been given.
Our prison system is filled with high school dropouts but many of them have been able to get their GED’s which can turn their lives around. We’ve even had prisoners get their college degree. Most Prison Wardens say they have great rehabilitation tools but that most prisoners don’t take advantage of them. This is scary but a lot of prisoners pick on people who take classes to better themselves. Prisoners who do this say the people attending these classes are “punking out.” Isn’t that just great? Why they do this is a story all in itself.
I hope you agree that I’ve shot down Congress’s theory about reducing sentences because they believe being incarcerated doesn’t correct behavior or rehabilitate. I’d be perfectly fine if they were right. I believe our prison system’s primary responsibilities are to deter crime (it works on me as I’m afraid I’d have a big cell mate) and punish people who break our laws. Congress left out these two issues in describing why they want sentences lowered.
We can make a difference by contacting our federal and state representatives and ask them about the issue. We then need to ask them what they’re going to do about it. Most people don’t get involved unless an issue negatively affects them. I want to remind you that 41% of
prisoners are repeat offenders. Life is a numbers game and you need to ask yourself: “Could you eventually be in the wrong place at the wrong time?” You could improve your odds by 41% if we keep these convicts behind bars like they’re supposed to be!
There is one other thing I'd like for you to think about. How many times have you heard of a politican being a victim of a crime? It certainly happens but as a percentage of their population do you think crime is a big issue for them? It begs the question that if it isn't an issue/concern for them are they really going to address these issues? I bet if they were more victim to crime the issues of prison space and sentencing guidlines would change quickly!