America spends mightily on prison poverty trap

An editorial from The Charleston Gazette 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Statistically, the United States is the most criminal country. A new report from the National Research Council says:

“From 1973 to 2009, the state and federal prison populations … rose steadily from about 200,000 to 1.5 million. … Another 700,000 are held daily in local jails. … The U.S. penal population of 2.2 million adults is the largest in the world. In 2012, close to 25 percent of the world’s prisoners were held in American prisons, although the United States accounts for about 5 percent of the world’s population. The U.S. rate of incarceration, with nearly 1 of every 100 adults in prison or jail, is five to 10 times higher than rates in Western Europe and other democracies.”

Did Americans turn seven times more criminal between 1973 and 2009? Are Americans five to 10 times more unlawful than residents elsewhere? Of course not. The explanation for the upsurge of steel cages is that America is more punitive, with more politicians passing harsh laws to prove they’re “tough on crime.”

This lock-’em-up mentality costs U.S. taxpayers severely. The NRC report says: “Spending on corrections is the third-highest category of general fund expenditures in most states today, ranked only behind Medicaid and education.”

Why does America bankrupt itself for prisons, when other nations don’t? Government should be frugal. It shouldn’t squander billions on cellblocks while other countries are wise enough to avoid this cost.

Click here for more. 

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

And get our latest content in your inbox

Invalid email address