Thursday, April 24, 2008

Incarceration Nation

The New York Times yesterday published a good basic primer on a most embarrassing type of American Exceptionalism, i.e., America as Incarceration Nation: Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations’ - New York Times. The first part of the article, written by Adam Liptak, is excerpted below:

"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.

The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London.

China, which is four times more populous than the United States, is a distant second, with 1.6 million people in prison....


For information about Massachusetts criminal law, see the criminal law page of my law firm website.

1 comment:

fchristie said...

Crime and punishment are symptomatic of society’s inability to address the cause of the unhappiness and lack of fulfillment that generates these conditions.
Instead of looking to social, penal, psychological or political solutions to problems, perhaps we should look inward and work on correcting ourselves out of our egoism.
We are all in this together and it can be said, in a sense, that all the world’s pain resides in us.

Michael Laitman states this more succinctly.