August 17th, 2013
03:07 AM ET

U.S. wakes up to its prison nightmare

For more What in the World, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Global Public Square staff

We were struck by a piece of news recently that is good for America, shows that our politicians are learning from their mistakes, and are actually cooperating with each other – on both sides of the aisle. Sounds too good to be true?

For many years, the United States has had a growing problem in its criminal justice system. As Global Public Square has pointed out before, the United States is number one in the world when it comes to incarceration – by far. In 2009, for example, for every 100,000 citizens, 760 Americans were in prison. That was five times the rate of incarceration in Britain, eight times the rate in Germany and South Korea, and 12 times the rate in Japan.

This trend began about 40 years ago. In 1970, state prisons had a combined total of 174,000 inmates. By 2009, they had 1.4 million – an eight-fold increase. And these correctional systems cost a lot of money of course – nearly $80 billion a year, more than the GDP of Croatia or Tunisia.

Well it seems that finally, common sense is prevailing. Attorney General Eric Holder made an important speech this week admitting that our prisons are overcrowded and costly. He specifically called for a reduction in mandatory sentences for low-level drug offenders.

It's important the attorney general brought up drugs, because the numbers are startling. Federal prisons, the group Holder was referring to, account for about 14 percent of our total inmates. In these prisons, the most serious charge for nearly half of all inmates is a drug offence. Compare that with state prisons, where only 20 percent of the inmates have a drug offence as their most serious charge.

More from CNN: Shame of mandatory minimums

Now, here is what is interesting. The federal prison population has increased every single year since 1980. On the other hand, state prison populations have been declining in recent years, so much so that the overall number of inmates – state plus federal – is actually down in each of the past three years. And here is the best part: the declines encompass 28 states, red AND blue.

Part of these declines are because budgets were simply collapsing. But it could also be because of a growing acknowledgment that the war on drugs has failed. According to the pro-reform Drug Policy Alliance, the United States spends about $50 billion a year on the drug war – adding up to a trillion dollars in the last four decades – but there has been no real change in addiction rates.

Americans are not more prone to drugs or crime than citizens of other countries, so why should we put so many people in prison? Well, the good news is that the numbers are finally too large to ignore. The states are already acting. And Holder's comments will add momentum to a growing chorus for reform.

The greatest challenge in pushing these numbers further down will be the prison lobby. Believe it or not, many of our prisons are run by private companies that then lobby state legislatures massively for bigger prisons, larger budgets, and of course more prisoners. According to the non-profit Justice Policy Institute, the two largest private prison companies in America together generate revenues of $3 billion a year – paid by taxpayers, of course. These private prison companies also happen to be major donors to a number of state campaigns, lobbying for more resources.

If our politicians can take on the prison lobbies, there really is hope for America.

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Topics: Drugs • Law • United States • What in the World?

soundoff (1,005 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    locking up lost souls never has worked... never will. it's all about leading these lost souls to the foot of the cross where they will be healed spiritually. those who scoff, chuckle and/or dismiss what i say... are part of the problem. it is man's separation from God that is the root of all problems.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • davidv

      So turn prisons in churches? Instead of SuperMax we could have SuperJesus.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  2. Larry

    I think everyone is missing the problem. It's not just the crimes that people commit. I feel like if someone breaks the law that person should pay their debt to society. With all that said, once a person pays their debt to society, society should give ex-felons a fair chance to succeed. Even if an ex-felon goes to college and get a degree and changes their lives, who is going to give that person a real chance. People wake-up, this country spends more money on prison than on education. Take a state like Florida for instance. Florida spends over 25,000 a year per inmate with over 100,000 inmates. Most are non-violent criminal and will eventually get out. Florida has the highest recidivism rate in the country and once these people are released they can't buy a job which results in them going back to prison. Their needs to be some way to allow people who have been convicted of non-violent crimes the chance to succeed. It make more sense for people to work and paying taxes rather than having tax payers paying over 25,000 a year per inmate. Just like the path to citizenship their should be a path for ex-felons to be successfully re-intergrated back into society.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  3. JCal

    It's more than a prison nightmare. Can you imagine the funds that went into arresting, trying, and convicting these people – most of whom are simple users? Trillions. So we then expose them to an extremely violent environment after which the return rate (to prison) or the jobless rate is enormous. This "war on Drugs" started by Nixon has grown into one big expensive nightmare, and this is only a small part of it. We say we can't cut discretionary spending any more. The fact is that we cannot cut it because we think we have to have it. This whole phenomenon is a luxury – an unaffordable luxury that makes no sense at all. So the next time you look at all those federal taxes that go out of your paycheck, remember where they get spent. The "war on drugs" is a big one of them – something which after many years has been shown not to work time and time again.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  4. lib

    I am very happy for this law and sincerely hope they get to it. It's very disturbing to read news about someone who was released for murder or attempted murder back on the streets to kill someone else. somebody buying a small amount of weed never bothered me. Go after the suppliers.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • Grouch

      Really? Go after the suppliers? What do you think the war on drugs was about. What needs to happen is price their a$$es out of business. $1.00 baggies of pot, $2.00 hits of cocaine and heroin. Anyone stupid enough to do PCP needs their hit laced with cyanide.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • Janis

      Amen. Some of these people on here act like we can lock up indefinitely every person that has ever smoked a joint. What they fail to realize is that is half of the country, and violent offenders are being let go to make room for pot smokers.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  5. forreal89

    wow they broke the law and no jail this makes sense

    August 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Reply
    • Janis

      So by your logic every driver that has ever broken the speed limit should be in jail.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  6. kalohu

    My nephew has been in prison in CA for 20 years now for a burlary and 2 sharpened toothbrushes yet rapists and murders sometimes go free after 7-10 years. Great judicial system we have!!!!! Ridiculous!

    August 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • Jonus Grumby

      He should stay in prison. Murderers should be executed.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
      • tedsalad

        Yup, jus open dem gates!

        August 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Grouch

      And you want me to be sympathetic. You relative is pathetic.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • Jeff6187

      20 years for a burglary and 2 sharpened toothbrushes? No. The maximum sentence for first degree burglary is 6 years. I'm sure it's just an oversight on your part but you forgot to mention: what did he DO with the sharpened toothbrushes? Ragardless, few people posses sharpened toothbrushes for any reason other than to kill. It's certainly not to promote dental hygiene.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • but

      fiy7

      August 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • Jeno Wagner

      Yeah, what did he BURGLE? Alittle boy's underwear? Creep in the night .......

      August 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Reply
  7. Name* Saywhat 14

    Amen Ryan! Say it again.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  8. R Power

    The problem is people being incarcerated for foolish reasons – ie: smoking marajuana. The violent criminals need to stay in prison and we need to quit wasting millions chasing down stoners and treating them like dangers to society

    August 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • Nah

      r: "The problem is people being incarcerated for foolish reasons – ie: smoking marajuana."

      You clearly don't know how the legal system works or who goes to prison.

      Most people who "only smoke" marijuana are not put into prison. People who routinely sell marijuana and other drugs are.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Reply
    • Grouch

      The other problem is that prosecutors totally over charge crimes. We need to get some sense back into the legal system and make the punishments fit the crimes.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  9. Kurt

    Overpopulation. Stop that, problem solved. To many idiots raising idiot kids. Not enough productive members of society boils down to unfit parents.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • julie acklin

      You are the most ignorant individual I have ever come upon . Do you think you are god? Maybe your parents are unfit parents. Because if you were brought up right .You wouldn't be so selfish and mean spirited .Some of those inmates are loved you rotten jerk.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
      • Richard

        Julie: You have a hugh problem !

        August 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
      • Jeno Wagner

        you have probaly raised a PEDOPHILE or 2 heh julie ackin...you r a shame to society. and so r yoiur fat kids...

        August 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Grouch

      With a 50% plus rate of single parent households, where the single parent is either overwhelmed or don't care. That seems to be the problem. In our worst neighborhoods, we are pushing 70%+. Sound to me like its a problem of our own making. If you're going to have kids, do it in a family. Quit being selfish but heads who call it quits the second it gets a little difficult.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Reply
      • tom

        I am a single parent. Raised a girl- graduated from college- got her masters, works for a finance company-engaged to be married. It is not a single parent problem. It is a discipline and caring problem.

        August 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Diaz

      First off..we are really not overpopulated....but ok...let's say we are....

      You want to make TPTB's job easier with less work to brainwash, manipulate, control, and be the only power for the human?
      Not to mention easier to make the food supply, air suppy, water supply, and genes.....in exclusively their control and whim.

      Yeah...ok.

      But it's all good...because humanity is killing itself if THAT isn't what's stopped.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  10. BUFFALO extra vi

    How can you people be this stupid?

    August 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • ditto dave

      Best. Comment. Ever.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Reply
      • julie acklin

        You too?

        August 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  11. Jones

    Prison time belongs to the likes of Ariel Castro, not some guy caught with a small amount of weed.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  12. schoolsub

    What is the only practical alternative to incarceration? It's called execution. Is that what we really want? Keep the criminals locked up!

    August 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • julie acklin

      So you believe that all inmates deserve execution? You are a school worker?i hope my children never have you as a sub.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Reply
      • Richard

        You have children? I feel very sorry for them.

        August 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  13. mim

    And how about letting the "offenders" who were put in for 40 years to life for having one joint on them, out?

    August 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Reply
    • EdD

      So do you know of any one that fits that description?

      August 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Reply
    • Grouch

      What world you been living in. Isn't anyone in the pen for 40 years for 1 joint.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Reply
    • Diaz

      Um...the only way that a person could get 40 years for having a joint on them..or even smoking it in a church for that matter..is that they are a three time loser..which means they need incarcerated anyway. Or there was other things involved than just having a joint.
      Period.
      And I am not bashing marijana users or dealers...I think it should be legal across-the-board.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  14. Jonus Grumby

    Open up the prison doors & crime will go up.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Reply
    • SheilaKA

      Agreed...unless we actually try to teach some marketable skills to those in prison who will be out on the street some day.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Reply
      • Grouch

        That's only the first step. Every body hiring these days do a criminal background check. There are very few jobs for X-cons and those that exist only pay the absolute minimum. What we need is after a criminal is release from prison, if they can go 5 or 10 years without getting in trouble again, remove their names from all the offender lists and let them get on with life. A big problems is some of them don't see any hope, so they decide to try crime again. Of course you will get a big percentage of them that return to crime right away. They need to be locked up and forgotten. They never learn.

        August 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • julie acklin

        Well said

        August 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Janis

      Perhaps you didn't read the article. he is talking about low level drug offences, not violent offenders.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Reply
      • julie acklin

        Right on Janis.You tell them .Girl power.

        August 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  15. blakenaustin

    A little soft on crime nonsense from the far left folks at CNN.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • julie acklin

      It is not soft on crime .They are not saying that all inmates are going to be released.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  16. Photo99

    The prison population is not even as bad in Africa. Haiti one of the poorest countries in the world has a prison population of about 40 per 100,000. The US is one gigantic prison.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • schoolsub

      If you don't like it here, by all means, go to Africa.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Reply
      • Photo99

        I just happen to be heading that way my brother ...

        August 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
      • julie acklin

        School sub?Again you are not getting close to my children.

        August 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Grouch

      And in Haiti, taking a walk is risking you life. The reason rat hole third world countries like that have a low incarceration rate is because they can't afford law enforcement nor corrections.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Reply
      • Photo99

        The incarceration rate of Haiti-Americans is about 20 per 100,000. Your evil racist system produces criminals because strips them of their dignity.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
      • Photo99

        There are thousands of white NGO's(non governmental) charities in Haiti. I have not heard many if any horror stories...

        August 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  17. lib

    I'd rather see child abusers jailed forever instead of weed smokers. I have always felt our laws were dumb. How can you keep a weed smoker in jail for years and release pedophiles? How can you release a murderer after only 7 or 10 years? You take a life you lose your life. case closed.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  18. EdD

    Anything to keep us from talking about a still pathetically high U6, QE artificially supporting us, and us printing money to pay for it all. We are on a one way course to economic collapse. Don't let your 401K/IRA gains fool you. We are propping up our economy with funds we simply don't have. Bill is coming due very soon. Hope your ready. It's going to make that recession look like the good old days.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Reply
    • schoolsub

      Remove this off-topic post.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Reply
      • EdD

        Truth hurt?

        August 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • EdD

        Freedom of speech but only if you agree with the topic? Figures.

        August 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  19. dot8

    Our judicial system is a mess ... so might as well let everyone go free.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  20. clint hanrahan

    Idiots want to put more criminals on the streets...great idea. Our criminal justice system is not doing enough to protect us from the criminals. Crooks should be put away until they're no longer a threat to society. They should be working 10 hours a day at hard labor to pay for their keep. If they don't work, they should get bread and water. If they go on a hunger strike, good, do us all a favor. Our criminal justice system has been reduced to a joke by years of weak politicians and judges trying to win the liberal vote. We need to focus much less on the criminal's rights and much more on the victim's and citizen's rights. Our elected officials are not doing enough to keep us safe from criminals.

    Bigger prisons filled with the thugs that cause us to feel unsafe are the only answer to our violence problem.
    The fact that people are hauled in on charges like robbery and burglary, with overwhelming evidence against them, and then released back onto our streets is appalling. With strong evidence, there should be no bail in these cases. This idea of being soft on criminals must stop.

    A criminal in prison can't commit another crime until he is released. To get crimes and violence under control, we need to lock more criminals up for longer sentences. Additionally, a criminal that's locked up can't breed and create more criminals.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • Photo99

      Who is going to pay for all of this.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Reply
      • clint hanrahan

        What is the safety of one's family worth? I don't care one little bit about reforming a criminal. The only thing I care about is keeping them off the streets, so they are not a threat to our families. We're paying for most of them from cradle to grave anyhow, we might as well be safe while we're doing it.

        August 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  21. Dr. Wish

    It is so tempting and easy to declare the drug war a failure. Such advocates need to explain why cocaine use has declined so much since the war started in the 80's. Just a coincidence? Or maybe all of this prohibition has an impact....

    August 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Reply
    • Photo99

      I don't think there was a war on drugs in Europe, Canada, south America or any where else for that matter and those countries are doing fine except for Mexico. oops I forgot Mexico did have a war on drugs...

      August 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Reply
    • darknesscrown

      First of all, the #1 reason cocaine use has fallen is due to a simple economic principle...prices. The cost of trying to enforce drug laws and punish users, sellers, distributors, and manufacturers of illicit drugs is forcing them to find ever more creative ways of defeating those laws. That gets costly, and like the pharmaceutical companies, they just pass those costs on to someone else. Legalizing cocaine only makes sense. It's revenue for the government, and it drives prices down because it eliminates the cost of enforcement.

      I think people like you who, apparently, have a fundamental and/or moral problem with recreational drug use are the problem. Because you have this twisted sense of how a free society should function, everyone has to bow to your will. Times change. Do you have a problem with smoking weed? Do you also have a problem with pharmaceutical companies, then? Cocaine is more natural for your than any prescription drug your doctor gives you...I don't want to say it's necessarily "better" for you, but it probably is. Get a life, man. Drugs are going to get legalized.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  22. EdD

    How exactly does this make front page headlines? Only on CNN......smdh.......

    August 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  23. Citizen

    In a time when our nation as a whole, come to an understanding that we must change. It is not change that is decided by an individual or by the press. It is not change that is needed by one party or the other. We the people, and that is everyone, needs to stop and forgive. There is a need to change our ways, we have done wrong to ourselves and others. When we allow the do-gooders/feel-gooders go from telling others to change, to enforcing their ways then we have resentment. Our prison system is over crowded, and cannot ask one group or an individual to change their ways. As AG Eric Holder has pointed out, our prisons are over crowded. But how can he make this change, when he follows the path of the feel-gooders? I have seen laws passed by bother Republicans and Democrats, no one is innocent. When you create enough walls and rules you will undoubtedly create an environment that will lead to corruption, cheating, and shortcuts. When you try to punish those who try to take the easy route, or try to escape the system you lock them up. Is it really their fault, did they agree to those rules. We all fear a system that will one day overrun our lives and yet we don't get it. Our lives are already taken over, and we fear that anarchy will eventually take over. So we fear what might happen, and we enforce those rules even further. By enforcing those rules over time, we have financially burden not just ourselves, our children and our seniors. We tell our children of tales of when we did bad, and then we show examples of how we still punishing ourselves. We believe if we don't stop repenting that we might feel worse about what we have started. We have lost sight of what the American Dream was about, and with every new generation we preach a new definition. Ask yourself, what freedom is, and ask what are your dreams. No person, gender, race, heritage, gender preference, or religion is to be left out of being free or happy. This is what the founding fathers of this nation wanted. If they only knew what would become of our system, they would have made things written clearer. This is not a Christian nation, this is not a nation that should be feared, this is not even a nation that has the right to judge others when it is too busy criticizing itself and it's leaders.
    We do need to make changes, but there is warning. I agree that we need to put our prison system on a diet. Before we get too far into this, there are a few things our government needs to understand. You need to forgive not just let them go, and you need to help them. They will need education, training and help finding a job. If someone was let go after serving 5 years for marijuana charge, chances are he won't be able to find a job in such a harsh market. You need to make sure that they understand not to be afraid, that they need accept that their life can be better. Some of these people have been in and out of the system for so long that this is their life. And we as a whole, need to understand that maybe we could have done things differently.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Grouch

      You know. We have a short attention span. Nobody will read a book like this. Especially when its not broken up into cohesive paragraphs.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Reply
  24. Shills

    A lawyer lawmaker judicial nightmare! They keep making more and more laws. I probably broke one today just leaving my front door and going shopping. Who knows?!?

    August 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Photo99

      Funny they don't ask the public whether they approve of some of those laws. They just make them up as they go.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
    • Grouch

      We all need to write our representatives and tell them to work on repealing laws instead of inventing new ones. There isn't anything we can do that hasn't at least got a dozen laws for it already.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Reply
  25. DP

    What's their definition of "low-level drug offenders"? Is it the small time drug dealer that's trying to sell drugs to my kids? Or is it the small time drug user who mugs innocent people on the street, breaks into homes, smashes people 's car windows to get high? What a joke!

    August 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  26. schoolsub

    It would appear that we have a number of commenters who are soft on drug crime.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Janis

      It would appear that we have a number of commenters that understand our prisons can not house everyone that takes drugs, as well as all violent offenders. Therefore, we are making a common sense decision to house the violent ones over the pot smokers.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  27. Gapper

    I am looking for one blogger here who has any real comprehension of the US legal system. All of you make grotesque assumptions of this system because you have no real experience with its implementation. The vast majority of folks incarcerated have been processed through the plea bargain process where they accept a lesser set of charges than in the original arrest. They have not gone through the trial process. Most of you likely believe these folks take this action because they know they are guilty and readily accept the lesser punishment. Certainly there is a percentage that fall into this category. There is, however, a very large percentage that accept plea bargains because they cannot afford legal counsel. You probably believe that the "free" public defenders will work any number of hours to defend a client but they just don't work those hours. In all states, public defenders are overbooked and do not have time to develop a serious defense. The only way to fight is to hire a private attorney which in a complex felony case could cost six figures plus. In contrast, the prosecution is funded by the government and there is no budget limit. Florida spent over $400,000 chasing after George Zimmerman and you can be assured his defense was equally costly. Most of you cannot afford this bill. Without a significant expenditure, the system is unfair and unjust and is the real basis for the excessive incarceration rate in this country.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Reply
    • Milw Eastsider

      Ia agree with most of what you said but the system would have been even more unfair or unjust if Zimmerman didn't get arrested, prosecuted and tried. Just because he won the trial doesn't mean there shouldn't have been a trial in the first place.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  28. x

    It's long overdue, but personally I don't think Holder or Obama would have ever even thought about this if most of the inmates in jail for drug possession were not balck. Period.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  29. wileysee

    The reason that the United States is '..number one in the world when it comes to incarceration' is because most of the rest of the world either puts it's criminals to death or has a very ineffectual criminal apprehension and conviction system; cast in point for the latter is Great Britain (see article in The Telegraph by Philip Johnston dated April 24,2013.). Allowing "low-level" crime individuals to get off is ludicrous at best and insane at worst. These people, not all but most, will not only continue their crimes but will also 'expand' their horizons in the crime world because logic will dictate to them that if they can get away with one type of crime then why not try another? This theory is just more Holder BS; it plays well for a certain liberal element of our society. There is absolutely no recognition of victim rights and it allows our leftist administration and their half-witted cohorts to feel that they have done something 'special' to save money while once again not analyzing the potential consequences...Lord save us from the well-intended!

    August 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • Photo99

      Britain has a much lower crime rate than the US so what's your point ?

      August 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Reply
      • wileysee

        Sorry, you're wrong. Britain's crime rate is very high and increasing yearly. Their justice and conviction system stinks...ask a Britt or better yet do some research before you say something (read the article that I highlighted in my post).

        August 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
      • Photo99

        The crime Index for the US is 53.44 the crime Index for Great Britain is 39 sorry .

        August 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • DP

      Actually, we are one of the few countries in the world that put people to death. The others are Iran, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, China and the like. The reason we have so many inmates is because we have more criminals and a weak court system that slaps people on the wrist several times before they get incarcerated.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Reply
    • Milw Eastsider

      Most of the world doesn't put its citizens to death....I don't know where you got that one from. Even Mexico & all of Latin American don"t have the death penalty which occurs only in the US, communist China, Arab countries, and a handful of 3rd world dictatorships. Before you start blaming liberals & Obama, my recollection is a conservative republican Mississppi governor was the last major government official to release a slew of convicted murderers & felons from death row. Anyways, holding people for low level drug crimes is just plain stupid. Even conservative libertarians like Ron Paul will tell you that

      August 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Reply
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