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June 2011
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Incarceration facts

The ACLU has a good series of graphics on our incarceration nation.

Here are a couple of them:

As someone who works in higher education and has seen the reductions in tax support while prisons keep opening, this graphic has a huge impact (our particular university used to get around 70% of it’s budget from the state; now it’s closer to 24%).

I see the potential of these students and know that an investment in education is far more valuable to us (which is why I also personally contribute to a scholarship fund) than an investment in more incarceration.

This one’s just ridiculous. How can anyone think that this is healthy?

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15 comments to Incarceration facts

  • Boris

    They hate us for our freedoms.

  • (name redacted)

    by Richard Swartzman

    The enemies of a free state — and a free people — are at it again. Not that they ever stopped, but a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, along with a new directive within the FBI and a city council ordinance in Iowa. make it perfectly clear that the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures is a thing of the past.

    The Supreme Court decision, issued in May based on a case from Kentucky, allows police officers to enter a residence without a warrant if they contend that they smelled marijuana or some other drug odor, knocked, identified themselves as police and then heard noises that sounded like evidence being destroyed.

    Note the assumption that police really did smell drugs, as if police never lie.

    Consider the case in Philadelphia during the 1990s when several officers from the same North Philly precinct were convicted of planting evidence on innocent people. This current ruling runs the risk of making the Philadelphia situation routine across the country.

    The specifics in the Kentucky case are these: Police were following a suspect who allegedly sold crack cocaine to an informant. They followed him into an apartment building, but did not see which apartment he entered.

    Smelling marijuana coming from one unit, the police knocked, identified themselves and then heard movement and a toilet flushing. So, the cops broke in and arrested the occupant who was not the suspect they were following. They did find some powdered cocaine so the man was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

    The appellate process took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Judge Samuel Alito Jr. said people don’t have to answer the door when police knock but if police hear movement and the toilet flush, officers may enter without the need for a warrant. In the 8-1 decision, Alito wrote that people who attempt to destroy evidence have only themselves to blame.

    The lone dissent came from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg who said the court has now given police an easy way to ignore fundamental rights. The decision “arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases,” she wrote.

    Compounding this insidious decision from last month is the FBI’s recent decision to permit agents to initiate any investigation or surveillance that they like without any need to show cause for the action.

    Judge Andrew Napolitano, on his Freedom Watch program of June 13, said the new policy: “…would permit [FBI] agents on their own to follow and snoop on anyone they wanted, whether there was any suspicion of criminal activity about that person or not; that it would sort through the garbage of anyone it chose, whether there was any suspicious behavior on the part of whoever used the garbage or not; and that it would search any databases it felt like searching about anyone in whom it was interested, whether there was criminal suspicion about that person or not.”

    (To read Napolitano’s complete commentary, go to http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/freedom-watch/2011/06/13/plain-truth-fbi#ixzz1PHrkAZzQ) Those two situations would be hideous enough, but now come the lawmakers from Cedar Falls, Iowa. In 2004, the city council in Cedar Falls enacted an ordinance that required lock boxes on commercial buildings and large apartment complexes. On June 13, the council voted 6-1 to expand the policy to include smaller apartment buildings. It went from a six-apartment minimum to a three-unit minimum.

    Tenants are required to place a key to the apartment or property in a universal lock box that firefighters can access so, in case of a fire, they can enter without breaking down the door.

    One woman speaking against the expanded measure said that if her apartment were on fire, she wouldn’t care about whether or not firefighters broke the door.

    Another rationalization for the ordinance is that if there’s an EMS call, responders can gain access. Again, if it’s a matter of life or death, the door doesn’t matter. Even if it did, those in single dwellings should fork up keys, too. Don’t they deserve to be safe? Don’t their doors deserve the right to remain hinged?

    Cedar Falls council members likely got the measure approved because it doesn’t affect the more affluent, those in better neighborhoods with nice houses. It focuses on the poorer in the community, those who rent.

    When the law first passed seven years ago, nobody said a word, and now the ordinance has been expanded. Unless people get their act together and get the law overturned, it will expand again, likely to those single-family homeowners.

    Think not? When the income tax went into effect in 1914, only those making more than $100,000 per year had to pay. Since nobody cared about the rights of the rich, now the middle class and working poor are paying that tax.

    Asset-forfeiture laws were only to be used against organized crime members and drug runners, but forfeiture has been abused. Police across the country routinely confiscate cars and cash without ever charging a person with a crime.

    The SCOTUS decision and the Iowa ordinance unfairly target people who live in apartments and condominiums. People in houses don’t have to give spare keys to Cedar Falls authorities — not yet anyway — and folks who live in single-family dwellings have a better chance of keeping suspicious odors from escaping.

    To paraphrase Thomas Paine, those who fail to safeguard the rights of others whether it’s because of a difference in income, skin color, gender, or for any reason whatsoever will lose their rights, too.

    Regardless, though, the FBI is watching whomever they want, for whatever reason they choose.

    Free state or police state, it’s your choice.
    __
    Richard Schwartzman

    • Paul

      Well written! The only thing–Free state or police state, it’s your choice–that’s not entirely true. I think we are rapidly progressing to the point where we don’t really get a choice anymore.

      The courts have clearly indicated they will support a police state, so there will be no help from their branch of government. The legislative branch is the one enacting all the laws and harsh punishments, and they show no signs of slowing the rush to tyranny. The executive constantly asks for more power to investigate and arrest. You certainly won’t see them standing up for freedom!

      A democracy, as they say, is the only form of government in which the people truly get what they deserve, and they get it good and hard. Whether through disinterest, ignorance, or a bloodthirsty desire for vengeance the public has ignored or pushed for ever harsher laws and sentencing, and seems to rather like it.

      We have to face up to the sad fact that only about 15 to 20% of the population understands that America is becoming a police state, but another 30 or 40% actually WANT a police state and vote that way (the rest don’t seem to care one way or the other). The bottom line is that the American public is, well, kind of stupid and evil.

      Just make sure your papers are always in order, and try not to drive around too much.

  • DdC

    How can anyone think that this is healthy?

    If you’re on the receiving end of the $44 billion you might.

    Same moron Neoconjobs gutting teachers pay for the kids.
    Dumbing em down for the burger joints and Koch cages.
    With all this concern for the kids it’s a wonder how they make it to adulthood.

    Things Go better With Coke! U2b
    Do things really go better with coke? According to this video they don’t go at all unless the world financial nerve system is constantly stimulated by it.

    This certainly doesn’t make us confident about the future of world capitalism. Now we know exactly where the bankers and the mob meet.

    What a great Christmas card this will make. The white flakes of coke gently falling on the main office of Wachovia Bank, only to be shoveled into the vault.

    Week of 5.9.08
    In Your State: Prison Costs
    The number of people behind bars in the United States continued to climb in 2007 with more than one in every 100 adults either in jail or prison for the first time, according to a study by the Pew Public Safety Performance Project.

    There are no such things as “private prisons, only “for profit” or “for salary”. Both paid by taxes. If all standards are equal then private prisons would cost more, or be substandard. As the history of being lackadaisical on regulations leads to less for the prisoners, that means more on top profit. Paychecks, clothing, bedding, everything used in a prison. Next is outsourcing? Koch Bros For Profit prisons paid by taxes or Government prisons paid by taxes, both buy private sector paraphernalia products. All employees pay income tax and get paid by taxes, a costly redundancy. So most likely, logically, the less the workers are paid the more on top or the charge has to be larger per head to cover the stock holders. So Koch’s get $72,000.00 per prisoner per year. Meaning that $72k brings back 1/3 in taxes. A minimum wage job brings back next to nothing. What’s that incentive?

    When Vice is made into a Crime it’s always for the money, sold in the name of the abuses, never for safely doing something. Councils raise funds on all sorts of vice. Gambling Prostitution without a Priest or the easiest way to make a buck… stoners and minorities. $72k, and the moron majority of self appointed moralists won’t complain. Just stoners, harumph. The Pro Life who aren’t even anti abortion and the tax dodgers care less. 5% of 2.3m x 10 other people effected is a lot of Americans suffering so Koch can get richer and the sheople can be safe, Donating their Liberties to the nice man in the suit. 100% of their families terrorized more than Al Qaeda can dream of doing. The idiotic rhetoric spin has the past repeating itself. Like a pecking order of self made prisoners outside the walls. Maintaining Dysfunction. Perpetuate the profits no matter how insane it is.

    False words and looks. Fashion junkies appeasers to impress empty heads with a credit card. Classism at its highest level ever. The “government” is an abstract term so without individual accountability there can be no retribution. Blaming the government or diverting with nonsense percentages totally misses the boat. Treating symptoms while the disease spreads. Following bad orders marching off the cliff, for 40 years, over and over. Prisons and Poisons = Profits. Poisons bring more white powders to treat the poisoning. Ganja or Hemp brings more cage customers prohibited. It’s a big fat Woolsworth selling Scalpels and Band Aids to drunk surgeons, Think about the carbon or radiation footprint of a prison. Vehicles to electricity. All selling something paid by tax. Crude oil clothing or cotton uniforms.

    As long as it isn’t Homegrown Hemp or Oil plants making the same plastic. Prison toothpaste and soap, cotton towels and dead tree paper. Ok for rapists, killers and child sex molesters to get free medical and dental care behind bars as long as they’re not working for minimum wage or poor or especially off color or a druggie. 3 meals a day to teach young caged adults we saved from pot, how to hot-wire cars and mug old ladies. If we gave poor kids three meals a day maybe they wouldn’t grow into mean killers and thieves. Give them housing and Glen Beck shits his pants on nationwide TV, but $72k to the Koch roach bros doesn’t phase the teabog ditto’s. One trillion to the Ganjawar so we have to shut down Planned Parenthood that gets no taxes for abortions. But they subsidize the pesticides that do.

    Unions are also abstract entities giving the individual worker a more level table to state grievances. Non entity corporations, with dream teams of lawyers have shown an obvious advantage against a single person. Regardless if its pollution seeping into the lakes or safety issues. Wages should not be dependent on intimidation and extortion. Once again treating the symptoms missing the disease completely. The Band Aids come after the lacerations. A living wage give Americans a safe clean happy place. Trickle down Raygunomics was condemned by daddy Boosh as Voodoo. Still is. Yet if Fox says boo, 5000 american flags are bought at wallmart. Made in China by kids in sweatshops. Sticking their tiny fingers into vats of poison red white and blue dyes. Wrecking ecosystems converting the Iraq and Iranian crude oil into plastic. Disposable labor over Homegrown resources and skills.

    Treatment sells… Cures and Prevention don’t. It’s either foreign multinational corporations profits or we the people taking care of us Americans. Neocon world domination has little to do with what could be a decent peaceful existence. We don’t require jobs or real estate markets we require food, clean heat, air and water, shelter, clothing and health care. All can be provided by converting back to Ganja and Hemp. The Ganjawar is a product, nothing more. The corporate and “liberal” media tell stories for profit. They also sell elections. All the money raised by corporations and individuals goes to the media and dead tree posters and other irrelevant paraphernalia like advisors. Most with carnival barker on their resume. Billions spent on elections, why not for food and schools? $100 million for a movie they knew sucked before it hit the theaters and spent the money to write off taxes.

    Private for profit hospitals are the same incentives as the rehabs and prisons. Add a conveyor belt at the entrance, to the room and then out the door cha ching… next. No reality, just profit. No cost savings just cheap treatment. Dumbing down authority questioners, another coincidence that Ganja tokers seem to ask why more than booze drenched minds settling for “because I said so”. Do what I say not what i do. It’s a god thang and its psychologically impossible to question the bible. It just is, like the pope, infallible. Deep religious belief causes schizophrenia. Those totally addicted will have a larger gap between their norm and their peek high. Ganja or acid or shrooms are more dramatic for fear and herd based mentalities. The more one is at ease with themselves the nicer the trip or buzz. Those who give up harden into mindlessness and go on to become DEAth Merchants.

    • DdC

      Things Go better With Coke! text was written by Ed Rosenthal

    • DdC

      Things Go better With Coke! text was writen by Ed Rosenthal

    • DdC

      “Relax Your Muscles as Much as Possible’
      What is this “Drug War” you’re really voting to continue?
      Let’s look at a few facts.
      What’s life like in our prisons for those 77,000 marijuana convicts?
      “Stop Prisoner Rape” has posted the little plain-talking handbill it has prepared for young men entering our prison system, titled “For Prisoners: Advice on Avoiding HIV/AIDS.”

      The group’s handout — targeted primarily at heterosexual men who have no desire to ever be involved in homosexual activity — advises:

      “HIV/AIDS transmission during a sexual assault is a serious concern.
      The following are practical tips for reducing your risk. …

      “If you have a choice, try to avoid men who used needles for drugs in the past or are still doing so. … The more often you are raped, the more exposed you will be, so especially try to avoid anal gang-bangs. The most dangerous situation of all is if your anus is bleeding, for that allows easy entry of the virus into your bloodstream. So try to use a lubricant or grease or cream if you can to minimize injury to your delicate internal body parts, avoid anal gang-bangs, and if you must endure forced anal penetration, try to relax your muscles as much as possible. These tactics are not ‘cooperating’ or consenting, they are just common-sense measures to try to save your life.

      Slave Labor (still) Means Big Bucks For U.S. Corporations

      Kochaine A.L.E.C. Drug Detention Centers

      Remember Tulia? Race, Cocaine, and Corruption
      * Race and Imprisonment in the Drug War
      * Prisons: America’s Newest Growth Industry

      Private prison companies have some powerful allies in the fight for stiffer sentences and more prison spending. For example, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which has grown from 4,000 to 23,000 in the last decade, gave more than $1 million to various California state politicians in 1996. The prison lobby is also supported by the National Rifle Association. Armed with an agenda of deflecting public fear away from guns and toward people, the NRA successfully lobbies for prison construction and three-strikes-and-you’re-out laws.

      * Journey for Justice Pedaling for Pot
      * The NRA strikes Back By Chris Bryson

      An important and largely overlooked force driving the prison boom in the United States is the National Rifle Association. With a membership of some 3 million, an estimated war chest of $140 million, and paid lobbyists in ail 50 states, the NRA has thrown its weight behind so-called “get tough on crime” measures and prison-building initiatives.

      * Slave Labor Means Big Bucks For U.S. Corporations
      * Ganjawar: Slave Labor, Rape & Pillage Deterrent

      At the same time, the United States blasts China for the the use of prison slave labor, engaging in the same practice itself. Prison labor is a pot of gold. No strikes, union organizing, health benefits, unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation to pay. As if exploiting the labor of prison inmates was not bad enough, it is legal in the United States to use slave labor. The 13th Amendment of the Constitution states that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted shall exist within the United States.”

      * FAMM – All about Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
      Congress enacted mandatory minimum sentencing laws to catch drug “kingpins” and deter drug sales and use. But the laws undermine the American tradition of justice by preventing judges from fitting the punishment to the individual’s role in the offense. Because of mandatory sentencing laws, the population of federal prisons has soared and they are filled with low-level, nonviolent drug law violators – not the “kingpins” mandatory sentences intended to apprehend.

      * Young Black Americans and the Criminal Justice System
      Five Years Later. October 1995 report.

      * U.S. Federal prison population
      number and percent sentenced for drug offenses 1970-1997

      * USA. Mandatory Life Without Parole for Woman after First Offense

      * *Shattered Lives, Human Rights and the Drug War”
      Book by Mikki Norris, Chris Conrad, and Virginia Resner

  • Bruce

    I was in daily conversation with a Corrections officer on a car forum up until about Christmas. He was the politest, nicest, funniest charachter I’ve ever come across online. Suddenly POOF he was gone from the ‘net. No more chatting it up with the peeps while at work anymore? If so, I venture he must feel every bit as much incarcerated at the inmates.
    Havn’t heard of a big prison break for a long time. One can only imagine the conditions in those hidden from view in plain sight spawned by evil elite treachery and demonic societal negligence corruption wracked mafia owned places. Ticktock the pressure cooker must be itchin to blow.

    • Peter

      one of the big investors in private prisons is barbara bush…..interesting to see that old clip of her husband, re-shown as part of the 40 year anniversary, announcing a plan to “make room” for the extra prisoners captured in his revamped wod. No conflict of interest there of course.

  • DdC

    How Cops Turn ‘Stop and Frisk’ Into ‘Stop and Arrest’
    Justice-reform advocates want young black and brown men to avoid being tricked by police into emptying their pockets.

    Drug dealers in Russia could be sent to labour camps
    Jun 14 2011
    MOSCOW: Drug dealers are to be ”treated like serial killers” and could be sent to forced labour camps under harsh laws being drawn up by Russia’s Kremlin-controlled parliament.

  • denmark

    The graphs really tell a sad story of how far america has fallen from grace.

    Tatum ONeal said on television recently that drug use is criminal. The look on her face and in her eyes was ugly, deluded, and painful to see.

  • tintguy

    As is the Empire that was born a Republic fighting to be free from the very thing that it has become.

  • vickyvampire

    Quote (Anyway,no drug,not even alcohol,causes the fundamental ills of society.If we’re looking for the source of our troubles,we shouldn’t test people for drugs,we should test them for stupidity,ignorance greed and love of power,-P.J.O’Rourke.)

    Drug War is like watching slow suicide of our country in so many ways, many just choose to look other way or get on hyper hysterics over wanting it to going on and on.

  • DdC

    ACLU of California Urges Sentencing Reform to Reduce Prison Population

    Balance our priorities, balance the scales of justice.

    Issues:
    Sentencing Reform: Balance the Budget, Balance Our Priorities
    We can save money and keep our communities safe by reserving felony sentences for serious crimes. This is one of the defining civil rights issues of our time.

    Dear ACLU Supporter,

    On this date, June 17, in 1971 Richard Nixon declared war – on drugs. This war has had no effect on the supply or demand for drugs. But it has made the United States the world leader in incarceration, and tipped California’s spending priorities toward prisons and away from public universities.

    Last month, the United States Supreme Court ruled that extreme overcrowding has brought California prisons to a “breaking point,” characterized by “needless suffering and death.” The Court has spoken, declaring that California must reduce its prison population by approximately 33,000 people over two years.
    Now it’s your turn to speak.

    The ACLU of California is launching a petition campaign to focus our political leaders’ attention on the need for sentencing reform. Please sign and share the petition with your friends. (You can use the share links on the left.)

    Nearly 8,500 people are currently locked up with felony sentences in California for non-violent low level offenses – like possessing a small amount of drugs for personal use – at a cost to taxpayers of over $442 million per year.

    We can save money and keep our communities safe by reserving felony sentences for serious crimes.

    Thank you for joining the ACLU in calling on the Governor and our legislators to cut wasteful spending in the prison system.

    We need to balance our priorities and balance the scales of justice.

    Abdi Soltani
    Executive Director
    ACLU of Northern California