For decades, a guiding philosophy of authoritarians was that locking more people up would result in less crime. This has created a prison state in the U.S., which represents 4.4% of the world’s population yet houses 22% of the world’s prisoners.
However, that philosophy has proved to be a farce. An analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that both imprisonment and crimes rates fell in 30 states over 5 years.
“The national imprisonment rate declined 1 percent while violent and property crime rates fell 1 percent and 5 percent, respectively, from 2013 to 2014, according to statistics released in September by the U.S. Department of Justice. From 2009 to 2014, the nation’s imprisonment rate fell 7 percent and the total crime rate declined 15 percent.
…an analysis of the most recent five-year data finds no clear causal relationship between higher incarceration and lower crime. On the contrary, 30 states have reduced both rates at the same time.”
Government’s own numbers tell them that creating a prison state does not decrease the amount of crime. In fact, the prison system is a factory for creating criminals.
In the face of damning logic, the reason the prison state continues can only be traced to the power and wealth it provides government and its corporate cronies.
A national map shows an astonishing concentration of prisoners in the Southwest and Deep South, contributing to the sad reality that the U.S. has more jails than prisons. And that does not include the hundreds of thousands locked up in local and county jails.
Compared to other countries, the self-proclaimed “freest nation on earth” is far behind in freedom.
When government’s definition of “crime” is mostly based on myth, it becomes easy to snatch people up. But if we consider crime to actually involve a victim, then three-quarters of all current prisoners are jailed for unjust reasons.
The war on drugs has provided much of the fodder for this beast of oppression, increasing the U.S. prison population 408% since 1978. This crusade—which has brought nothing but misery, state power, and enormous revenue—has created roughly half of the prison population.
The news is good that incarceration and crime rates are both falling, but there is one disturbing trend that provides a bit of a damper. While prison populations shrank, arrests for marijuana actually increased. This is despite the fact that marijuana is recreationally legal in 4 states and medicinally legal in 20 other states.
620,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in the past year, or one person every 51 seconds. While cops go after nonviolent users of a dried plant, more murders go unsolved and more rapes go ignored.