Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Save the Old Folks! | The Democratic Agenda Pt. 2 »

Thursday, February 28, 2008

One in One Hundred U.S. Adults is Incarcerated

posted by on February 28 at 13:50 PM

If the findings of this new study are not a national shame, I don’t know what is. Hillary Clinton is the first out with a statement:

America’s prison population has grown at a staggering rate over the past quarter century. A new report now reveals a staggering and heart-breaking statistic: One in 100 American adults is currently behind bars. Our incarceration rate is several times greater than that of any other developed country. To state it plainly, the 1-in-100 figure represents a failure of our society at a number of levels. And the cost – to our families, to our communities, and to state budgets to the tune of almost $50 billion – are simply too great to bear. Many of those costs are borne disproportionately by minority communities: One in 15 African American adults is behind bars, and one in 36 Hispanic adults. We need a President who will be tough on crime, but smart about it too. A President who will take innovative steps to ensure our crime policies are reducing crime in the long run so that we have fewer victims of crime and fewer prisoners.

To reverse this alarming trend, interventions are needed before crimes are committed, before offenders are shipped to prison, during their terms of incarceration, and as they are released and begin to reintegrate themselves into our communities. I will work to deter crime by re-investing in our communities, re-invigorating the COPS program, and putting 100,000 new officers committed to community policing into neighborhoods across America. Studies have shown that the COPS program deters crime. And I will close the revolving prison door by reforming our sentencing policies, promoting effective alternatives to incarceration, and investing in new “second chance” Reentry Partnership Grants to support reformed offenders and reduce recidivism. The solutions are within our grasp. What we need now is leadership, and that’s what I’ll provide.

Something that’s noticeably absent from Clinton’s statement: Any mention of the drug war, which is a significant force behind the high incarceration rates in the U.S.

UPDATE: D’oh. Maybe I’m a candidate for drug-related incarceration. I somehow missed that Dominic posted about this same story, making almost the exact same point, more than two hours ago.

RSS icon Comments



I'm sorry but statistics occasionally support my mild racism.

Posted by Non | February 28, 2008 1:52 PM

Hey Eli, you're stepping all over Dominizzle.

Posted by Mr. Poe | February 28, 2008 1:57 PM

But does she watch The Wire? And who's her favorite character?

Hint: It better be Omar, though she strikes me as more of a Stringer fan.

Posted by Original Andrew | February 28, 2008 2:00 PM

Does anyone even bother to *glance* at their posts before putting them up, let alone proofread them?

Posted by johnnie | February 28, 2008 2:00 PM

OTOH, Mr. Poe, two whole hours have gone by since Dominizzle posted his analysis. Mr. Sanders is playing to readers with short (ahem) attention spans.

Posted by Ronaldo | February 28, 2008 2:00 PM

and there won't be a mention of the drug war. job 1 in 08 is to get a democrat elected.

if you mention ending the drug war in this campaign, you will lose. the 'Murkin needs to be weaned off fear first.

i wish we were more mature, but we're not.

Posted by max solomon | February 28, 2008 2:05 PM

@1, racism has a lot to do with what created the statistic.

Posted by cmaceachen | February 28, 2008 2:14 PM

@6 - You're right about the election, of course.

It's drug offenders which are overcrowding prisons. HRC and others need not even mention the problem if they can't talk about the real cause. Talking about "interventions" is the type of crap which is fodder for the "government IS the problem" conservatives. Completely misguided and utter bullshit.

Posted by Mahtli69 | February 28, 2008 2:14 PM

1.5 mil arrests for simple possession IS this story. Her failure to mention it is her failure to understand the problem at all.

Posted by NaFun | February 28, 2008 2:15 PM

Can't help but wonder if part of the reason we have more inmates than China is because more prisoners there are "dissappeared" and wind up in a Bodies touring exhibit.

Posted by orangekrush | February 28, 2008 2:17 PM

It's OK, Eli, you added HRC's talk about this, adding data. Not that she would actually address the root cause of all this, which is the prison-industrial complex and its tool, the failed War on Drugs.

Posted by NaFun | February 28, 2008 2:30 PM

@11, you mean the failed War on Thugs.

Assuming that a large percentage of jailbirds are druggies, what the hell is up with Americans? Is your reality that bad you need to do drugs?

Apparently, Americans need more than movies, TV, video games, magazines, books, ample food, security, etc. to make their lives satisfying. Enough is enough. This is why the Bible says greed is bad.

Stop putting junk into your system. Your life really isn't that difficult.

Damn, it's time to get a beer.

Posted by Medina | February 28, 2008 3:10 PM

In related news the state has promised to increase the number of crimes they can imprison you for, even if more than half the county budgets are going to prisons and the "justice" system that feeds them.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 28, 2008 3:11 PM

If memory serves, the rate of incarceration started to rise significantly under Bill Clinton's presidency.

@12: No, it's not that reality is so bad, is that people are lazy, have lots of leisure time and money, and like to be distracted by various drugs. Also TV and video games.

If it is escape, it's escape from their own lack of imagination.

Posted by treacle | February 28, 2008 4:01 PM

okay, first of all fuckers, i made up "dominizzle", and you're stepping on MY shit. and point #2: Non? you are a disgusting turd and every word out of your mouth sours my stomach. go troll a daycare.

Posted by adrian! | February 28, 2008 4:36 PM

Well, we're off to a good start.

What happens when we've got all 100 in jail? Socialism, that's what!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 28, 2008 6:37 PM

If you had a room of 100 random people, I'm sure 2 deserve life.

Posted by behappyi'mnotacop | February 28, 2008 7:54 PM

"One in 100 American adults is currently behind bars." Why not just say 1%?

I believe my sociology teacher told me, oh maybe 10 years ago, that 7% percent of the population was criminally deviant. This is supported by the fact that rapes are only successfully prosecuted (for the victim) at a rate of 6%. And just about half of all murder cases are ever closed. Seems like we should have more people in prison, not less.

Posted by Y.F. | February 28, 2008 8:17 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).