Friday, February 29, 2008
Record Numbers Of Americans Incarcerated
Statistically speaking, virtually everyone in the United States should know someone who is in prison.
Nearly one in every 100 people are incarcerated in the United States.
Either that means that the USA is a nation with a disproportionate number of unlawful individuals. Or that our laws and our punishment practices are out-of-step with society.
The prison population grew by 25-thousand last year. Meaning more than one-and-a-half-million people are in prisons in the United States.
That figure doesn't even take into consideration the nearly three-quarters-of-a-million more who are in jails.
The Cato Institute's Gene Healy says, part of the problem is that the federal criminal code has become vast and incomprehensible. A research team led by professor John Baker of Luisiana State Law School estimates that there are more than 4,000 separate federal criminal offenses.
This, Healy says, doesn't even take into account the tens of thousands of regulatory violations that have the force of law, though never voted on by Congress.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/c0ldgirl/221055448/