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.

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

soundoff (1,005 Responses)
  1. Bob 'rehoboth-beach foodie" Yesbek

    Just keep the n e g ros in jail and this country might have a chance after all.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Reply
  2. Jack Beanstalk

    A business thriving on tax dollars. Local police get bonuses and overtime, departments get confiscated property, prison corporations make insane profits and publicly paid lawyers all up and down the system rake in billions. What could possible go wrong.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Reply
    • terry

      and we all get the bill

      August 18, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  3. maruzicho

    I agree most drug users use drugs as a coping mechanism or relief. The truth is most of America has used or experimented with drugs, and many professions and people hide this issue. Most of these people can be helped or treated without incarceration, and I believe though if the issue is not solved incarceration is a good tool as a wake up call or last result for the individual.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Reply
    • Photo99

      hey a lot of people drink to self medicate. Not everybody can afford to see a fancy psychiatrist and when you do it goes on your record for life.

      August 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  4. Mendel Peterson

    Federal government sets quotas, rewards local police when exceeded with weapons. Feeds the entire justice system including private prisons with more convicts. It is a federally funded run away business. We can't compete globally with solar panels but we top the charts with prisoners and go broke. MLP

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

    I would like to know if the prison population has decreased in the states that have legalized pot. If it has then I'm all for having pot legalized. I know many good hard working people who have lost their jobs or have a record for drug possession for smoking pot. It is not right to ruin someones life over something people have been doing for centuries. When the indians smoked pot way back in the 1800's it was for peace in a peace pipe. It was drinking whiskey (or firewater) that got them all fired up. The hippies of the 60's had the right idea, Make Love not War. BTW I grew up in the 60's. I walked the walk and talked the talk and lived a very productive life and raised a good family. It's not the pot smokers who have ruined this country it's the corupt politicians and greedy big business who have brought this great country to it's knees. The message I'm trying to convey is legalize pot and free up prison space.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Reply
    • terry

      I have no criminal record, but I have met many decent people whom have trouble getting jobs because of pot convictions Not selling, just smoking it! That is a chain around their necks for life! wouldn't want my child to suffer that long for one mistake! I'm not so sure about legalizing it, maybe decriminalize!

      August 18, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Reply
      • Photo99

        So what happens, they go back to dealing drugs because they can't find a job.

        I think the only people that will hire a convicted felon is McDonalds, and Construction sites and "'m not even sure about McDonalds being that you have to handle the register.

        Some places might hire you as a custodian or garbage collector. Some State agencies also hire ex-cons, but not murderers.

        August 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
      • Janis

        Exactly Terry! So many of these commenters have no real idea what these harsh drug laws have done to the future of young people. It is wrong to allow one harmless mistake to ruin a young person's future. I can't understand were this cold-heartedness comes from, especially from so many who claim to be Christians.

        August 18, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
  6. terry

    you've been out drinking one night, being smart you walk home, a cop stops you wanting to know why your walking funny. So you tell him you've had to much to drink and are walking home! He arrest you for public drunkenness, are we seeing how easy it is to get arrested.

    August 18, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  7. Point

    With all of the disease, illness, death and social impact caused by alcohol and tobacco, would you change history by restricting both into our free society if you could? What benefits has our society experienced from these two? I'm sure each of us has had a loved one suffer because of one or both.

    With that said, what possible benefit is there for the legalization of drugs (cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, PCP, MDMA, etc)? How will these substances improve our country and our citizens? How will they make us a better people? How will it improve the lives of families that struggle now with addiction. The only ones it will benefit are the investors who take over manufacturing these substances (similar to alcohol and tobacco companies)?

    If we're committed to getting better, we need to strive towards stepping forward. The legalization of hard drugs are a massive step back and settling for mediocrity. Our people deserve a society where our children and future generations will flourish. I'm afraid that legalizing drugs and minimizing crime will stunt our growth and harm our nation's overall quality of life.

    Concerned American

    August 18, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Reply
    • Wendell

      We need to refine the laws not throw them out. We can determine whether marijuana is a harmful drug, in my own opinion is not. And we can consider intense rehab programs instead of prison sentences. If a person wont learn from treatment why would they learn from a prison term. A person who does drugs is not evil, they are people who need help. We want real criminals and drug dealers in prisons but we should want drug addicts to recover.

      August 18, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Reply
      • Adam Evenson

        Good statement, Wendell.

        August 18, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
      • Justin Case

        Marijuana should be legalized and most other drugs as well but you need to think of the unintended consequences of such actions. If it is legal to posses, make and use hard drugs, or if we are going to almost decriminalize hard drugs then the people who currently use them will no longer be afraid of letting everyone know that they are using. This will lead to more in your face confrontations with intoxicated people. I am not saying there will be this huge wave of evil but it will exist and will be much more prevalent than now. Take a person who uses Cannabis, that person will not get in your face and want to fight, I think we can all agree on that. Next, take a person who is using crack or meth, that person will and I can state this because I have run into these types of people many times in life. Hard drugs, including alcohol tend to make people more aggressive and less able to control their emotions.

        I know that assault, burglaries as well as battery will all still be illegal but instead of arresting people for drug use we will be arresting those same people for another crime.

        With that said, I think that this action by the justice department is poorly thought out as are most things by government. If we are going to allow drug addicts to run free then we should also allow the people the ability to defend them selves. Make it easier to buy guns as well as carry guns, both open and concealed.

        August 19, 2013 at 12:42 am |
    • LT Fang

      Form the New Prohibitionist Party.

      August 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Reply
      • jacob

        The problem is that the people of our US society are trying to come up with a perfect solution and there are none. Life is a double edged sword, so mo matter what is done both positive and negative experiences will be seen. Because of the bluntness in our societies there high life security will most likely cease to exist.

        August 20, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Pete

      I think that we share the same concerns. The trouble is, it has done nothing to improve our lives by prohibition. It when and if society has enabled citizens to be responsible that the individual makes a responsible decision. But the trouble, education, religion, laws, and social policies make us all dependant consumers for capitalists profit. Legalisation helps towards personal responsibilities...

      August 20, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Reply
    • Joe M.

      We in America, call criminals and outcasts "1 percenters". According to CNN's numbers, its just 3/4ths of 1%. Now, because of advances in forensic sciences, we are catching and jailing more of the people who slipped through the net of justice in the past. Is this a fault or a sign of the advancement of society. Murder and violent crime rates are down in recent years because the criminal types know that there is a much greater chance of being caught and imprisoned when they commit a crime. This sounds like advancement to me. If we lower the penalties for various crimes, isn't that encouraging the 0.75% losers to re-commit their old crimes because they have a real chance of getting a "slap on the wrist". A "life term" in prison for some heinous crimes is no longer an actual life term, unless its called "life without chance of parole". So, its very possible that a murderer may be released after some years and go looking for his former victim's family or some law enforcement persons to "get even" for his imprisonment. And this comes at a time when some governments are trying to take away a citizen's right to defend his/her home and family. So, the real answer to over-crowded prisons is to build more prisons under the current sentencing guidelines. To those who say it costs too much, consider the costs to society of increased crime. In many other countries, the penalty for dealing in drugs is death. And that is one of the reasons the USA has such a high prison population – because we in the USA do not execute drug dealers. These drug dealers are allowed to take the lives of our friends and family members, but we are not allowed to take their lives through legal executions.

      August 22, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      You are dead wrong! Our gov. or you have no buiz. telling others what they can or cannot do as long as they harm no one else. Freedom for all or freedom for none.

      August 23, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Reply
    • akita96th

      You must be a representative or (troll) from the prison lobby....

      August 31, 2013 at 7:24 am | Reply
    • Tjhmax

      Other civilized countries have no worse drug problem, but do not spend $ 50 Billion a year.
      Keep drugs illegal, but stop wasting money on chasing every Tom, Dick and Harry....

      September 9, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  8. Richard

    America has become a nation of pot heads and drug addicts. The majority of individuals who support the legalization of marijuana do so because of the opportunity to smoke for recreational enjoyment–not for medical treatment.

    Although I agree that these minimum sentences should be reduced, I do not agree that they should be eliminated. These should be used to create an inventive to not commit a crime. What we really need is a vast reform of our prison system. It should be modeled like Russia's - create a complete hell hole. No gangs, soup and bread is it and offer education for those who want it. By the end of their sentence, they will think twice about committing another crime. A soup and bread diet will save us taxpayers billions. It's time to treat these people how they should be treated - like criminals.

    August 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Reply
    • BlackThought

      We did that it was called the dark ages and it didn't work. Lets try and be smart about this instead of acting like vengeful monkeys.

      August 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Reply
    • Arthur

      This ladies and gentlemen, is what we call "evil" in the human world. But thats the funny thing about man, he is never the villain of his own world, no matter kind of inhumane monster he appears to be.

      August 18, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • Janis

      A soup and bread diet will not meet even a minimum of a human's dietary needs. They will become sick and prone to diseases, of which you as the taxpayer will have to pay to treat. Most people would consider this cruel and unusual punishment, and in no sets a moral example for our kids to see people being starved simply because they chose to smoke marijuana instead of drinking the more damaging alcohol.

      August 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Reply
    • Photo99

      So after they paid for their crime what should happen to them ?

      August 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Reply
      • Adam Evenson

        Give them a decent pension?

        August 18, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • Skeptic

      Not everyone who smokes weed is a "pothead" anymore than everyone who drinks a few beers now and then is an alcoholic,.

      You should know something about a topic before you comment on it.

      August 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Reply
    • Ekaterina Kaverina

      Do a term in a Russian prison before you recommend it to anyone. You don't know what you are talking about.

      August 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • Alexander

      Richard, your thought processes are just plain criminal.

      August 20, 2013 at 7:15 am | Reply
    • jacob

      I agree completely. The whole point of prison is to teach a lesson to the offender, not give them privileges.

      August 20, 2013 at 11:30 am | Reply
    • prubear

      I have never done anything illegal, except for speed when I'm not watching the speedometer that I'm aware of. However, I am for making certain drugs legal and taxing the heck out of them like we do gasoline, alcohol, and cigarettes. Those would be the "gateway" drugs. It would make it harder for dealers to push, and would provide necessary government funding for the police and education. Education is essential in giving a basis for a healthy lifestyle, yet we are defunding that.

      August 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Reply
    • jon t banning


      August 27, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Reply
    • akita96th

      And in a free society they should be allowed to smoke if they want to..Take the crime out of recreational use And so ends the long prison sentences...For every dealer put into jail 3 take their place its a perpetual motion of in an out never to change anything except bankrupt an already bankrupted nation to appease the ignorant and those in power...

      August 31, 2013 at 7:28 am | Reply
  9. julie acklin

    And it will put you in prison for cruelty and inhumane conditions.

    August 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  10. julie acklin


    August 18, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  11. BlackThought

    End the War on Drugs and put half the money towards a War on Poverty and watch are prison and crime rates plummet.

    August 18, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Reply
    • BlackThought


      August 18, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Reply
    • Justin Case

      If you want to end poverty then the war should be directed at the government. Throwing money at poverty will NOT end poverty, it will only make more poverty. The way to end poverty is to remove business and individual regulations. Next we should end all welfare. Lets allow businesses to expand and hire more people. Lets do away with most all taxes so that the people will have more money to spend. If there are people who will not work after that then let them figure out how to survive on their own.

      If we save money on the prison system then it should be given back to the people, the rightful owners of the money before it was stolen by the government in the form of taxes.

      If businesses have more money then the business will spend it. If the people have more money then we will spend it. The natural tendency for all business and people here in America is to make and spend money. America's economy has been setup to facilitate and require such spending to survive.

      August 19, 2013 at 12:55 am | Reply
      • Wow

        Uhhh you are crazy. Remove all regulations? Yeah, because that won't lead to worse conditions for consumers everywhere. If businesses have more money they will spend more money? False. They will just give out bigger bonuses to their executives and sprinkle a little into the stockholder's dividends. Don't be so naive.. Then again, a couple lines down I see you warning about people to prepare for "the coming collapse" and telling people to arm themselves.. so I guess you being naive isn't as big of a problem as you being delusional.

        August 19, 2013 at 10:44 am |
      • Rebecca

        Most of our tax dollars go to business now and they are NOT spending it and they are NOT creating jobs or increasing wages. Exactly the opposite. Businesses are killing the goose that laid the golden egg... they are very into goose killing at the moment. You are certainly not paying attention to economics, since businesses have more money saved than at any time in the history of our country. Take our tax dollars back from businesses and tell them "no workee no monee."

        August 24, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • prubear

      I like that idea Blackthought. A war on poverty would be partly help with education and a way out for "hopeless" situations. A hand up vs. a handout.

      August 20, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  12. bozikhan

    Most prisons in US are owned and managed by privet companies and that is a very big business and big money!

    August 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Reply
    • Photo99

      I'm not making this up, this is from the Wikipedia website:

      "According to the American Civil Liberties Union, numerous other studies indicate that private jails are actually filthier, more violent, less accountable, and could be more costly than their public counterparts. They claim that the for-profit prison industry is "a major contributor to bloated state budgets and mass incarceration – not a part of any viable solution to these urgent problems." In fact, the primary reason Louisiana is the prison capital of the world is because of the for-profit prison industry. According to The Times-Picayune, "a majority of Louisiana inmates are housed in for-profit facilities, which must be supplied with a constant influx of human beings or a $182 million industry will go bankrupt"

      Not sure why a there should be for-profit jails since the state usually makes the laws and determines who breaks them not private citizens. This should be the responsibility of the state. A private prison is akin to modern day slavery, since it gives people who enforce the law a monetary incentive...

      August 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Reply
      • Rebecca

        During the great Republican takeover, everything (including the U.S. military) has been privatized. That is why nothing is working at the moment. Some things should be privatized, but others should not. Considering that big corporations are by their very structure dictatorships... they are a basic enemy to a Democratic Republic anyway. They are now immersed and embedded in our government and that is why our government is an epic fail. Even Dems seem to have bought into the nonsense promulgated by corporate execs... that they are the best decision makers for our country... that human workers are without value... that all decisions should be made by the execs. FAIL.

        August 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  13. Ladrigan

    How does Holder keep getting to decide which laws to prosecute??? I thought that was congress. My bad.

    August 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Reply
    • Janis

      In case you missed it, Holder is head of the justice department. Enforcement is in his job description, and all justice departments decide which crimes they will prioritize. Congress just makes laws, they do not enforce them.

      August 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  14. Clarke

    So there is money in owing a prison, taxpayers money of course. Maybe the private prison owners and lobbyist should be put in prison for stealing and getting elected officials in their back pocket. It is all a disgrace and on the backs of the taxpayers. I wonder when the American people will stand up and not be taken advantage of any more.

    August 18, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Reply
    • Janis

      Sadly most of our fellow Americans are not smart enough to realize they are being robbed, our country being dumbed down as much as it has.

      August 18, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Well said, Clarke. These right-wing politicians do have a penchant for taking advantage of the ignorance of the American people.

      August 18, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  15. Photo99

    "According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 2,266,800 adults were incarcerated in U.S. federal and state prisons, and county jails at year-end 2011 – about 0.7% of adults in the U.S. resident population.[7] Additionally, 4,814,200 adults at year-end 2011 were on probation or on parole.[11] In total, 6,977,700 adults were under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail, or prison) in 2011 – about 2.9% of adults in the U.S. resident population"

    Actually the US incarceration rate was pretty steady from 1920 until 1980 at about 500,000. From then on, it shot up to about 2 Million and is still going up as we speak. That's a four fold increase(4X) ! In 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected and he made "the war on drugs" one of his main priorities. Part of his reasoning was due to the Crack/cocaine epidemic that hit major cities right around that time and the violence that ensued. .

    August 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Reply
    • Photo99

      Oops, I meant to say that the US incarceration rate from 1920 through 1980 was under 500,000. Up until late1970 is was around 250,000

      August 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  16. Az

    As a matter of fact, a matter of record, most of those incarcerated lean left. They are registered Democrats. Eric Holder is a Democratic slug, Holder has played the “get out of jail free” card for supporters. It will save us money however on new TV sets, and other benefits for those that lost their rights by prosecution.

    August 18, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Reply
    • Janis

      Just a matter of record, most American now lean left, why should the prison population be any different. our anger must come from the knowledge that your party is dying, while the democratic party is growing.

      August 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Reply
    • Ekaterina Kaverina

      Funny, I have an impression that most of the incarcerated are very ignorant and even backwards, with a tendency to be violent towards their family members. That would be leaning right, not left.

      August 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  17. aylwas

    It costs about $40,000 a year to house a single inmate. Think about if we put that morning towards something more meaningful like education or helping those in poverty.. Maybe that in itself lower the drug and crime rates.

    August 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Reply
    • Lyndsie Graham

      No aylwas, the solution here is to cut the unnecessary military spending, not turn out prisoners!

      August 19, 2013 at 12:23 am | Reply
  18. wanderingquestioner

    I see many comments saying “Legalize This and Legalize That” but the individual law is not the problem, the problem is that the lawbreakers are no longer afraid of the consequences of breaking the law.
    I myself work at a jail, and as small as it is (around 260 inmates), we get quite a variety that come through plus our locals.
    If you have never been to a jail, it’s easy to see the small jail cell, the dayroom that holds 44 inmates, the six showers the inmates have to use and say “boy, that’s punishment enough.” But what you would notice if you spent enough time in the jail is that the inmates no longer care. It’s funny how many inmates I see come into booking crying and sobbing about being arrested again, some come fighting while others come in as if coming back home but most of the ones that came in spitting nails or crying, just enter the day room look around, find their friends sit down and start playing cards or chess or just start watching tv. Much of the time, within hours of entering the pod, you will find those inmates laughing and joking around with other inmates. I’m not saying jails are not dangerous, things can get out of control quickly from the smallest problems, but most of the time inmates just sleep, hang around talking, eat, and repeat. Day after day.
    And if you think that bothers them, I can tell you it only bothers them most when they first come in and then only a little as they do their time. The first timers are mostly the exceptions.
    As for people who say there should be more rehab, I’m afraid jails hands are tied there to. When it’s time to do programs (as we call it). Inmates are not required to participate and we can’t strap them to a chair to make them, I’m sorry, but it’s true there are some inmates that will go to programs because they believe it will look good on their case files. But when an inmate says no, which happens quite a bit. We Detention Officers don’t have the right to make them. When I’m watching these inmates having their fun, it can make one mad to think that this is what the taxpayers are paying for. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where the American citizen can’t have their cake and eat it to. People want to change inmates for the better but they have restrained the system and have taken the physical and mental punishment out of the lesson. If we just start saying “legalize something”, are we not just tolerating the intolerable?

    August 18, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  19. Lyndsie Graham

    One thing is for sure and that is that this current penal nightmare will get a lot worse before it gets any better, if it does at all! Prisons have in themselves become crime schools, teaching convicts how to commit even more crimes once they're released. And then there's the problem of meth, cocaine and heroin which seems to have no end.

    August 19, 2013 at 12:21 am | Reply
  20. Justin Case

    This should not have been all that unexpected. As our economy continues to collapse we will see more and more of our old system of laws fall. Setting free the drugged up prisoners is not what should scare you. What should scare you is when local law enforcement is dwindled down to almost nothing and then being left on your own with no one on their way to help you. Let thins be a wake up call for everyone, a call to arms, a call to prepare for the coming collapse. Arm your selves people and advertise the fact that you are prepared to use fire arms to defend you family.

    August 19, 2013 at 1:08 am | Reply
    • Jay

      Sounds like Afghanistan, Oh crap, I think you're right.

      August 23, 2013 at 12:44 am | Reply
  21. jegg

    "If our politicians can take on the prison lobbies, there really is hope for America." I guess we don't have a snowball's chance in hell then. What part of recent history would lead anyone to believe that our politicians can take on ANY lobby? This congress is not capable of doing anything.

    August 19, 2013 at 9:45 am | Reply
    • George patton

      Quite true jegg, quite true! No, all those right-wingers in Washington can do is to get us into more of their useless and unnecessary wars overseas in order to please the all powerful war lobby!!!

      August 19, 2013 at 11:38 am | Reply
  22. fgdfgdsfgsdfg












































    August 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      I wish that CNN would do something about this idiot above who keeps on parroting this stupid anti-Venezuelan post. He never says anything!!!!!!!

      August 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Reply
  23. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Why does America have the highest rate of incarceration in the world? the answer is quite simple! We have more criminals than any other country in the world and we have the lions share of the world's wealth! Any moron can figure that one out!

    August 19, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  24. Shelia

    The entire idea of prison needs to be looked at...Prison should only be used for violent acts period...This idea of locking everyone up isn't working, now is it?

    August 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Reply
    • karen14217

      Well, from what I have read, in most places in the US the crime rate is lower than in years past, so maybe locking up the criminals is actually working.

      August 20, 2013 at 8:06 am | Reply
  25. Bobby Pleccieaux

    If someone get's busted with a certain type of drug they should be forced to ingest it all day long in a chain gang like environment - which would be for city/county beautification purposes - until they either decide to renounce the drug of their choice or be castrated.

    August 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Reply
  26. abajuba

    Could it be that our prisons offer more benefits than the rest of the world? Could it be that repeat offenders are not deterred by prison conditions and actually don't mind another stint in the big house. Sure, they mind getting caught, but the consequences are anything but harsh. If we didn't coddle our prisons as we do perhaps the offenders, when released, would refrain from committing acts that would ensure their return to lockup. I've worked in county jails and state prisons....I've also been in Europe and the Middle East. None of those regions of the world experience the recidivism the USA penal system experiences. Our prisons, overall, are too cushy to deter crime.

    August 20, 2013 at 9:18 am | Reply
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