August 17th, 2013
03:07 AM ET

U.S. wakes up to its prison nightmare

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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.

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

soundoff (1,005 Responses)
  1. Faith

    Seems to be good news !

    August 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  2. but

    my cat is smoking wee #blazed

    August 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  3. but

    my cat is fat

    August 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  4. bobbaft

    HA! A story written about freed people by Fareed! I see what you did there!

    August 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  5. john

    We should just release all the innocent prisoners and those that were "framed."

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

      Well put, john. I couldn't agree more! Unfortunately, for many D.A.'s and police officers, the question of innocence or guilt is at times beside the point. They are only interested in obtaining convictions at any cost. Does anyone here remember the DuPage 7 in the state of Illinois, who knew that the two defendants were innocent but went ahead and prosecuted them anyway, almost resulting in the death of one of them? That was some 20 years ago but I never forgot!!!

      August 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Reply
  6. gran torino

    And the criminal records and backround checks should be sealed so that these people that mess up once and get caught can go back to the workforce, not be black labeled to never getting a decent job again what does that solve? They cant get a job because of an arrest what else are they forced to do?

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

      I agree. But over time. They need to prove they are interested in becoming good citizens. There is such a thing as the criminal mentality. I've counseled with many cons whose sole regret was getting caught. If a con can keep his nose clean, say over 5 years, then they need to be removed from offenders lists and allowed to return to normal citizenship.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Reply
    • Photo99

      Good luck on that even a DUI misdemeanor stays on your record for life.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  7. w5cdt

    This started with Nancy Reagan's "war in drugs". An incredibly clueless attempt and managing drug use in America. The First Lady can be given credit for random mandatory drug testing in the American workplace.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Reply
    • George patton

      Actually w5cdt, Nancy Reagan was our true President between 1981 and 1989 with her husband Ronald doing her bidding. However, she had the right idea by just saying "no" to drugs. It's too bad that most kids nowadays are just not buying it!!!

      August 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
      • John

        "Most" kids? Are you serious? Have you ever SEEN a child? Weed is maybe 20% of people my age, harder drugs are below 1-2%! If "most" kids were doing drugs, the prison population would be a LOT higher than 0.76%.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • coderjones

      When prison became a business
      That's when we should have noticed

      August 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply
      • Janis

        Absolutely right! How can anyone think it's good for companies to profit off there being more Americans locked up?

        August 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
  8. joe Mauro

    ive got the soultion stop arresting drug users,put abusers in counseling,abolish the dea,legalize weed,stop tying prison funding to quotas

    August 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  9. sunnylovetts

    I'm shocked, they are actually doing a little good? WHAT??? Or is this a fraud too?

    August 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Reply
    • Karen

      To many "my people" are getting arrested. Just like when the black panthers intimidated voters, Holder will cut his "my people" loose.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Reply
      • Armageddon

        You racist.
        Seriously, I'm calling you right out on that.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
      • Janis

        You mean what by "his people"? Do you mean Americans, or are you a complete racist, and mean black people?

        August 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  10. Mike

    We will never get rid of prison problems, a lot of ppl deserve to be in prison for some of the crimes that they have committed. Prisons should focus on job skill training and we need to start a program that will remove misdemeanors and some felony convictions from a person's record after they complete parole. Also bring back prison chain gangs, make them work for the 30k-60k a year it costs some states to house inmates.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Reply
    • julie acklin

      Mike .That is the stupidest comment. Chain gangs .Come to Arizona if you want chain gangs. It is all about punishing instead of rehabilitation. You are mean.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Reply
      • sumday

        it doesn't have to be one or the other. If they are in jail it's bc they committed a crime and SHOULD be punished, but while in jail they should work towards rehabilitation. Personally I'm ok with chain gangs. I'd much rather them be on a chain gang instead of doing nothing but talking to each other on how to not get caught next time.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • JLS639

      Chain gangs cost more than regular imprisonment* and the revenue they save by doing public works does not even come close to bridging the difference. The only time they actually arguably pay for themselves is when they are volunteers picked from well-behaved inmates who are not considered escape risks. You know, the same sort they let out to do day jobs at MacDonalds or a warehouse. Given that, it is easier just to let those inmates get day jobs (and they establish a work record and references to get a job before getting out, unlike with chain gangs).

      *Additional guards are needed, additional infrastructure such as trucks are needed, on-site housing is often needed and professional liability insurance premiums for corrections departments go through the roof.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Reply
      • sumday

        So how much would it cost to haul in big rocks to a jail and have criminals break the rocks down to gravel?

        August 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
      • fred

        Probably the other country's prison systems are not as crowded because there prisons are actual prisons instead of enclosed day-care centers! They treat prisoners like PRISONERS not guests!!! Take away all of the comfort perks and treat them like they should be treated and they would not be so eager to get in or go back. They also need to fire up the CHAIR and empty out all of those cells that have been full for years of people that were supposed to be put to death!
        It is not death row any more it is life with no chance of death.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • rippleyaliens

      Mike.. The USA is in a Pandora box situation. Meaning- The WAR on Drugs has failed. (Cash for Cane–Iran Contra Scandal). We are at a situation in the USA, that- 1 Prisoner, cost on average 40K.. -Prison Guards KINDA have to make decent money, must have EXCELLENT Health Care. BUT still do not make what it cost to House 1 Prisoner.

      Once the Drugs are legal, – Then the Criminal element will turn to Extortion, Robbery\Burglary , Kid Napping. The Country is just on that next level Evolution of how to deal with uneducated, jobless, skilless. When people think of drug dealers, NENO Brown, is always the first thought. Not realizing it is just a unskilled, Dropout,no job person, doing the only thing he\she knows how to do. Lets fight the Problem, by dealing with the source-..

      1. With Insane Childsupport laws.. IT is insane, that there are that many Men walking in the USA, for failing\falling behind \ –CANT Get a job because of felony, (Ironic that felony is for Child Support).
      2. Less money spent on Schools than Prisons.= What all kind of jobs, do you expect people to get with BS highschool Diplomas, low act\sat, DROP outs.. WHAT kind of jobs do you think they can hold? YET earn enough for the CS Game??
      3. People want to ban abortions, YET!!!! Complain of people being on welfare. Soo, instead of hoping that they can get through life, staying a virgin, will increase their success rate?? That people, will stop doing the ABSOLUTE THING in life. IE, Boy meets Girl.

      These are just the basics.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Reply
    • Arthur

      Terrible people like you are why we have such a horrible incarceration rate. Chain gangs? Seriously? Is this part of your "I miss the good old days" nonsense?

      August 18, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Reply
    • Janis

      No one is trying to get rid of prisons. We are just trying to make sure that the right people are held there. The violent criminals, not the pot smoker.

      August 18, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  11. Karen

    Holder states " people of color often face harsher punishments than their peers", yet offers no proof. So when "my people" break a law, Holder will just do away with that law? What next Holder, beating and murdering whites will be legal. Holder is a racist Imperial Wizard POS of the Justice Department.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      If they face harsher sentences for a given crime, it's probably because with them, it's their 28th offense, whereas with whites, its their first offense.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Reply
      • Grouch

        First offense: Try to turn them to a productive life. Second offense: Punish the heck out of them and then try to turn them to a productive life. Third Offense: LIFE! This is based on felonies not misdemeanors, but there should be a limit on class A misdemeanors too.

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

        @grouch- did you even read the article? What you described is exactly what we do right now, and have been doing for several decades and guess what we have put so many felons in jail that we can no longer afford it. Yeah it sounded like such a great idea to people like you, but guess what it didn't work at deterring crime and it cost so much that it can no longer be sustained. You mentioned these people are felons- yeah you be a felon for drugs, yet not a felon for being an alcoholic, or for writing bad checks. Sorry but locking up those felons for life at my tax dollars expense seems wasteful to me.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Quentin

      Hey Karen where do you live? you dont know that Black people are constatntly harrassed by the police? My very good friend who is white says to me "I have never been stopped by a cop in my life" he lives in the same town he was born in and has lived there for 46 years. I get stopped evrytime i go to visit my sister in a town in Indiana. Never get a ticket or anything cos i have nothing to hide. I tell you what though I fear for my life those few minutes. I guess until white people start to fear for their lives everytime they are stopped by cops you just wont get it or understand. Do you have children? I always find it difficult to imagine that women of any race who have had children would be ok with other womens children being treated unjutly because of the color of their skin.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
      • jim

        That's not true. People of color make up a smaller % of total population yet commit more % of the crime. There are many reasons why, but that's the facts.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
      • Karen

        I'm sure Holder will see to it that you don't get pulled for improper lane changes, cracked windshiled, failing to signal a lane change, or whatever law you're happen to be breaking to cause you to get pulled. This is the 21st century, the klan is gone, stop living in the past.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
      • Janis

        Quentin, good job at trying to reason with Karen. I applauded you for it, but just like too many people(black and white), she is simply a racist, who can not see the truth because she is so blinded by her hate of black people. Karen wants as many black people locked up as possible. She doesn't care if it's warranted or not.

        August 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • jim

      Right on

      August 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  12. seshr

    Simple formula – replace drug imprisonment with severe monetary fines, just like traffic offences. If they cannot pay then make the offenders clean roads, do community service etc. The fines will pay for education, rehab etc.
    There must be punishment for drug offences, but should never be imprisonment since these are basically similar to white collar crime.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • kenman

      Nice concept, but almost certainly unworkable. Who's going to monitor the "work" to be done?

      Just look at the joke that Chris Brown has been making of that sentence!

      Now, if you could put them on work crews like the old prisons used to use, that might work. But, if you believe that drugs like pot are "harmless" it will never make sense to set back people's lives with fines or imprisonment for the use. Then, how can you logically do anything to the distributors?

      August 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Reply
      • julie acklin

        You can monitor it.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  13. Larry

    I'll take a prison nightmare over a crime nightmare any day. No one is put in prison unless convicted of a crime by a jury of their peers. According to the liberals, racism is rampant in America, but they never declare the war on racism to be a failure and thus suggest it should be abandoned. The truth is, the liberals just can't stand the idea of all those non-whites behind bars when they could be lurking about interbreeding the white race out of existence so Jews can sleep easier at night not having to worry about another holocaust. Leave them in jail!

    August 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • Quentin

      Larry I bet you are the smartest in your entire family. That is not saying much.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Reply
      • terry

        thats funny

        August 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Janis

      Poor, Larry. I am so glad I'm not you.

      August 18, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Reply
  14. Alarmguy

    How about this, try giving up the war on drugs and terror. Try a war on Poverty, a war on healthcare. Then see what happens in 20 years.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Reply
    • Grouch

      This will only work if we have a war on the destruction of the family. Lack of parentage for kids is what is fueling our whacked out society. Especially in poor neighborhoods. Statistics bear out that a child from a broken home is much less likely to succeed in life that his counterpart in a normal family.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
      • terry

        In agree, the family is key to raising decent adults!

        August 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
      • Janis

        What's with "War" on everything? What kinda of a people are we that we can't solve problems without declaring war all the time?

        August 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
  15. Karen

    I wish I were black, so when I break the law, Holder could swoop in and strike down that law. What a racist POS we have for attorney general.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Reply
    • Quentin

      He is not striking down the law or giving black people liberty to commit crime lol oh my God go to school and stop wasting your mind.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Reply
      • kenman

        He is making a wholesale change to the law by undermining the record keeping that triggers the mandatory sentences! He has no more authority to do THAT than he does to MAKE the laws!

        The changes should be made legislative, by representatives of the citizens, not by a partisan appointed AG!

        The rest of your comment is just insults.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
      • julie acklin

        I am sorry but that is so funny Quentin lol.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
      • Karen

        This is just a start. His endgame is "my people" out of jail, all others in jail. Same Imperial Wizard, different color.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Janis

      I wish you were too, perhaps you would be more intelligent.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Reply
    • Drew

      Because that's something the US legal system has been know for.... how lenient and fair handed it has been to African Americans

      August 18, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Reply
    • Janis

      Well you would know about racist POS's, being as you are one yourself.

      August 18, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  16. DP

    Yeah, let them out. Because it's much cheaper to have the States issue EBT cards, section 8 housing, and healthcare at the taxpayers expense while they burglarize, break into the taxpayers cars and homes, assault and mug them to get high. Hey, it works for all the liberal Democrat city politicians! Who wouldn't want to increase voter turn out at the next election. I can guarantee you the ex cons will be voting Democrat.

    August 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • Karen

      This idiot wants to take the guns and set the prisoners free.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Reply
    • Janis

      Because your post is so lacking in knowledge, reasoning and facts, I will not go through it line for line to educate you. I will point out this one fact. Convicted felons CAN NOT VOTE, be it democrat or republican.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Reply
      • DP

        Oh...ok. They can't vote because we have such a great voter registration procedure that only requires you to say "yes, I'm American." But if you want to buy a beer, "can I see your ID please?"

        August 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
      • Grouch

        Actually, you are the uninformed one. Most states these days give back the franchise as soon as a perp had done his time.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
      • budspliter

        Wow Janis are an arrogant ignorent liberal or what? Your party is rife with voter fraud and make it easy for criminals and the dead to vote. Go do your home work janet, I can not go through post by post to show how ignorant you are.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Quentin

      Dude the way ur KKK republicans have messed things up they dont need criminals to vote for them believe me. FACT: THERE ARE MORE WHITE PEOPLE ON PUBLIC AID THAN ANY OTHER RACE. Check your facts. Thank you.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Reply
      • Grouch

        You are correct. But there are a lot more white people too. Your argument doesn't hold up to percentages.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
      • kenman

        You conveniently ignore the ratios; there are 3 or 4 times the percentage of the black population that are criminal than the white population!

        For example, black population about 13% of US population is responsible for about 60% of violent crime! It's not racist, or bias, it's just reality; and it is reality that we should address is we're going to be honest, and effective.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
      • Christopher Delarosa

        Percent of the US population on welfare = 4.1 %
        Whites make-up 77.9% of the population and make up 38.8% of the people who receive welfare.
        Blacks make-up 13.1% of the population and make up 39.8% of the people who receive welfare.
        Hispanics make-up 16.9% of the population and make up 15.7% of the people who receive welfare.
        Asians make-up 5.1% of the population and make up 2.4% of the people who receive welfare.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
      • Photo99

        The number of people receiving Public AID in this country is about 4,300,000 this includes food stamps and the like. Out of those 4 million or so 38.6% are White and 39% are Black . About 16% are Hispanic, the rest are Asians or Other. There are about 33 Million Blacks in this country. 39% of 4.3 million is about 1.6 million. meaning that out of 33 Million Blacks 1.6 million of them receive Public AID.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Janis

      Oh Budspliter, poor Budspliter. There is no rampant voter fraud! If there were there would be proof of such. Try turning off Fox News and doing some research. I challenge you to come up with 50 cases of voter fraud by democrats, since you believe that it is so prevalent that shouldn't be hard to do. I'll wait for the proof.

      August 18, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  17. Dan

    90% who are in prison – are not criminals. They are regular people who does not support communism or stupid democracy. Shadow government puts them for not supporting democracy using various excuses. I guess it is time to stop real criminals, otherwise, welcome to the collapse! Examples is Soviet Union!!!

    August 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
    • Bermuda

      Cool! I guess "shadows" scratching their rear ends – best solution for them is to use anti itch cream! Ha, ha, ha.......

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

      Are you one of the druggies that needs releasing. Sounds like your high on something. Da tavarish?

      August 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  18. PtBarnumBoy

    We've got to keep as many people in prison as well possibly can. It would be unamerican to have the CEO's of these not-for-profit prisons taking a pay cut now can we?

    August 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Reply
    • Janis

      I agree, we can't have the polluters and war profiteers losing money. How would they be able to pay Fox News to convince all the feeble minded to vote against their own best interests?

      August 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Reply
      • budspliter

        "Feeble minded Fox views". Only a low information MSNBC viewer could make such a lame comment. Lol

        August 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
      • Janis

        Nothing "Lame" about my comment. Just stating facts.

        August 18, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • julie acklin

      Yes they need a pay cut. The whole damn gov needs one.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  19. gretabrena2013

    I think imprisonment should be used only for criminals from whom we need protection. Otherwise, prison is too expensive and it gives no relief at all to the victim of the crime. i'd like us to start working on Restorative Justice which not only punishes the criminal but helps the victim.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Reply
    • Janis

      Alas, someone who has actually used some reason!

      August 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  20. Dave Rogers

    As near as I can tell, it hasn't been happening over years... it happened suddenly about 1982 and it's been that way ever since.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  21. Jenny

    People have overwhelmingly been saying this for dozens of years now. Shame about all the lives that got ruined.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Reply
  22. Rev . Viscount McTavish

    People are in prison because of the abuse of White Priviledge , racism and greed . These poor souls are the victims of Republican abuse of civil rights . If more Democrtas were elected , there would be alot less people in prison today . If you want less people in prison , elect more Democrats .

    August 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • Karen

      I was taking you seriously until "White Priviledge", then I realized you were joking.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  23. Ang

    Now America wakes up. Now that it's affecting more young white American's who are hooked on meth and heroin. Now, finally something has to be done.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  24. Rev . Viscount McTavish

    When we legalize drugs , there wont be so many people in prison .

    August 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Reply
    • Photo99

      Just more people wacked out on drugs. However it would take the money away from the drug dealers which would lower the crime rate and homicide rate.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Reply
      • Janis

        What proof do you have that there would be more people whacked out on drugs? People that want to do drugs will do them, illegal or not. It's an impossible law to enforce and a huge determent to society. Prohibition does not work, and the cost to society is unsustainable. Better solutions should be approached.

        August 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  25. terry

    I live in the county(butler,pa) where for profit prisons started.This never was a good idea! To make money they have to have more laws,expanded laws, and mandatory sentencing! The for profit prisons, lobby hard and throw a lot of money around to make it all happen. just because a law gets passed doesn't mean it's a good one or even fair.some examples: in pa, if your hunting and take a lunch with u out in the woods, eat it and throw a banana peel down, u can now be conviction of hunting over bait! A criminal act! That stays on your record! ridiculous? How about underage drinking? pa laws says if your at any place were this occurs, you are charged even tho you had nothing to drink you are guilty! if ur a minor and get caught with others whom were smoking pot, better fight the charges or u can not get financial aid for college, ever! I'm betting where ever you live there are laws on the books very similar to these. The power my friends, have been grossly given to the government! The rule of law should be to discourage destructive behaviors against society, not to control whom you spend time with! no need to make a 2nd class citizen out of a young kid who makes a mistake!

    August 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Reply
    • Photo99

      Even local prisons get a stipend from the Government for every prisoner they hold in jail.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
      • terry

        Hold being the key word, friend!

        August 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
  26. nostradamus

    The war on DRUGS should be re-labeled as the war on black THUGS!

    August 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  27. gapper

    Let's talk about the real legal system. My son was on probation due to false accusations from his girlfriend. He was just 18 and thought that taking a plea bargain would be best. His attorney who cost me $5000 was okay with this position. My son received a sentence of 90 days in jail and was ordered by the judge to have no contact with the girl. The girl, however, had no judgment against her and wrote many letters to my son, providing pictures and telling him she loved him. At least 5 letters from her per week were sent to the jail and provided to him by the jailers. Ultimately, my son broke down and sent her a simple card that said, "Hello, I am fine, hope you are doing well." This card was turned into the local prosecutor by the girl's mother and my son was brought before the judge who sentenced him to medium security prison for three and a half years. He got out last winter, and is now very, very careful not to contact anyone that can get him in trouble. Just one evil felon running amuck on the street of America.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Reply
    • terry

      yep, personally know a married couple, fighting, wanted hubby out of the house. Lawyer told her to tell police he assaulted her,(just a shove) 1yr. later they had worked thru there problems, all except one! hubby has to go to jail for assault, she even told them how it came about!

      August 18, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Reply
  28. Jack Taylor

    the last place a drug user should be is in jail, jail is for criminals, drug users are not criminals, just self medicating, they need rehab or some assistance. If anything the head of pharmaceuticals should be in jail for what they're pushing on american citizens. I'd rather pay for rehab than incarceration, cuz when they get out after being around real criminals for years, guess what, those are the friends they have now. And what makes it worse, they can't get jobs because they have a record, they're families have been trying to make it without them, probably having to go on assistance, or worse. It destroys families, lives, communities, and our entire country. But leave it to the nuts on the right, they're answer is always jail for people of color and probation or nothing at all for whites for the same offense. Reason being white people can afford better attorneys, and there is more sympathy from white jurors and judges. People of color are more often than not viewed by the system as prone to criminal behavior and not worth the effort to consider.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Reply
    • terry

      i know of employers whom are having a tough time hiring people, their rules state people have to have a absolutly clean record!

      August 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Reply
      • Photo99

        There are people like that mostly straight out of college.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  29. retief1954

    This staggering, highest-in-the-world-by-far prison population can be largely credited to conservative "law-and-order" types (Repubs like Nixon, Reagan, and the like) who (as usual) didn't understand the real nature of the problem they were attempting to address, and who blindly enacted blanket, disproportional mandatory minimum sentences even for the most minor offenses. You know, these cons, always gotta show how "tough" they are. On everything. My opinion, cons have some issues around their own potency, going by how they typically react to situations like this, domestic AND international. Always gotta be poundin' their chests, "out-toughin'" everyone else. "Little-Man's" syndrome. And naturally, they ignore the astronomical costs of their benighted policies, preferring instead to lay the consequences off on "liberals", on "out of control government", on "out of control government spending (by Dems)", and any other scary-sounding bogey-men they can invent out of nothing; anything but acknowledge their responsibility for their part in the status quo. They don't get it now, and they will not get it going forward. Conservatives are the ultimate, hard-headed, head-in-the-sand reality-deniers and I have no doubt they will rise up to try and obstruct the Justice Dept's attempts to remedy this situation and bring the US into line with the rest of the (comparatively sane) developed world.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  30. Moogie713

    Criminals get way too many chances, and the police in my area tell me they arrest them and they are let go the next day, because the jails are overcrowed. Perhaps vigilante justice is on the horizon. Either make drugs legal or do a serious nationwide sweep and offer drug rehab. Next time we ship them to Alaska.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Reply
    • Photo99

      Do you know how much those drug rehab facilities charge the government ? Sometime $6000 per patient and more. If a person does not want to be rehabilitated then its a waste of time and money.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Reply
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