2008 One in One Hundred U.S. Adults is Incarcerated
posted by February 28 at 13:50 PMon
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.