Ever wonder why the United States of America (land of the free?) has more people in prison than any other country in the world?
U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other nations - The New York Times: "The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population. But it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners. Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations. Criminologists and legal scholars in other industrialized nations say they are mystified and appalled by the number and length of American prison sentences. . . "
Kudos to Paul Krugman for pointing out what most Republicans and Democrats prefer to ignore:
Lobbyists, Guns and Money - NYTimes.com: " . . . Yet that’s not all; you have to think about the interests of the penal-industrial complex — prison operators, bail-bond companies and more. (The American Bail Coalition has publicly described ALEC as its “life preserver.”) This complex has a financial stake in anything that sends more people into the courts and the prisons, whether it’s exaggerated fear of racial minorities or Arizona’s draconian immigration law, a law that followed an ALEC template almost verbatim. Think about that: we seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population."
Yes, the penal-industrial complex is "crony capitalism" at its worst, and Nobel Laureate Krugman is onto it:
Paul Krugman: Creepy Cronyism--" . . . Look, in particular, at the semi-secret history of the Arizona immigration law. A legislator goes into a closed-door meeting with corporations, including a big operator of private prisons, and soon afterwards submits legislation that … sends lots of people to those private prisons. If you read the corrections to that report, you see that ALEC and/or its clients went over the piece with a fine-toothed comb to find anything that they could attack; sure, you can’t prove that Corrections Corporation of America inspired the law, or that ALEC lobbied for it. Hey, it could all be a coincidence. But this is really, really creepy — and scary."
Yes it is, yes it is--"creepy" and "scary."
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