Monday, April 25, 2005

Who Populates Our Prisons?

I just read an Associated Press article, U.S. Prison Population Soars in 2003, '04, By Siobhan McDohough. The article says that each week between mid-2003 and mid-2004 another 900 inmates were added to the population of jails and prisons in the United States. Last June there were 2.1 million inmates in the system. Paige Harrison, the co-author of a Bureau of Justice Statistics report attributes the increase to the get tough on crime policies of the 1980's and 90's.

Any time I read an article on prison or jail populations in the United States I find myself wondering who these people are. If I read the court records in my local paper I find that most of the people that are sentenced to jail or prison have been charged with non support or drug sales. Are they career criminals, or were they once hard working honest citizens that lost their job when the factory they worked at moved out of the country? At one time this country manufactured and exported products to meet the worlds needs. Now our number one export is American jobs and our fastest growing industry is the prison industry. If our law makers truly wanted to do something to reduce crime they would stop supporting free trade agreements.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.


Blogger Whymrhymer said...

A big part of the prison overpopulation problem is due to immigration.

"Criminal aliens—non-citizens who commit crimes—are a growing threat to public safety and national security, as well as a drain on our scarce criminal justice resources. In 1980, our federal and state prisons housed fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens. By the end of 1999, these same prisons housed over 68,000 criminal aliens.1 Today, criminal aliens account for over 29 percent of prisoners in Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities and a higher share of all federal prison inmates.2 These prisoners represent the fastest growing segment of the federal prison population. Over the past five years, an average of more than 72,000 aliens have been arrested annually on drug charges alone."


I know I seem to harp alot on immigration problems but that's only because the problem is there and it's real. If we don't get a handle on who is coming into this country and be a lot more selective, the problem will only grow and, incredibly, this seems of very little interest to our government.

Common sense and rational action are slowly being replaced by religion and by political correctness.

9:20 AM  
Blogger David Schantz said...

I don't think I'd call it harping, I'd say you are trying to educate. I agree this is a very serious problem and most of our elected officials don't want to do anything to correct it. My United States Representative, Sam Graves (R-MO) has suggested putting a moratorium on all immigration until the system is fixed and the borders are secure. I'm afraid he wouldn't get much support if he brought a bill calling for a moratorium to the House. I would like to see them increase the fines for hiring illegal aliens by about 100%. Seems to me that the only way you can get some people and companies attention is through their bank account.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Ken Grandlund said...

Good point whymrhymer- foreing criminals do command many of our resources and fill our jails.

Also, as briefly touched on, are the thousands being held for drug use or possession. Not a good use of tax dollars or people resources.

Serious criminal reform is indeed needed, and I wrote a series of articles dealing with this issue back in January or February. If you're interested, drop by my blog and search through the archives.

10:51 AM  
Blogger A Wiser Man Than I said...

Thank you for standing against the failed policy that is free trade. Tariffs are needed to protect American jobs before we become a full-fledged service economy.

As for the borders, proponents of open borders like to claim that we are only letting in hard working Mexican immigrants who deserve an opportunity. While many are hard-working, many commit crimes.

It's one thing for Bush amd Congress to turn a blind eye to the borders if the only reprecussion is cheap labor for businesses. However, when immigrants come here illegally and and commit crimes that harm Americans, their complaceny becomes unacceptable.

When it comes to free trade and immigration, the Republicans need to answer to their base as to why they have strayed from principles. Otherwise, hopefully, conservatives will begin to hold their party accountable.

12:51 PM  
Blogger volterwd said...

People deal drugs id say because of out of control materialism... everyones gotta have the bling... and they want it now

stopping free trade wont change that, neither will cutting immigration because immigrants arent the ones commiting these crimes in most the cases

1:52 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I agree David.

America has the highest incarceration per capita in the world. Something isn't right about that stat.

Also, America's greatest export used to be democracy. Now it's weapons. America is the largest arms dealer in the world. There isn't something right about that either.

I do disagree with Hymer a little here. A big part of the prison population isn't due to immigration like Hymer comments. I think the word he is needing is illegal-immigration. I know that's being anal, but correct terms are important here. That, and I always looks for an opportunity to get Hymer :)

Like the site.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Whymrhymer said...

David, The moritorium and the fines both seem like excellent ideas.

I had my head in the immigration problem (oops! Sorry MJ, that's illegal immigration) and hadn't thought about Ken's point about the absolutely stupid drug war filling our prisons. That's probably a much larger number than illegal immigration number.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Katherine Thayer said...

There are 2,220,300 prisoners in the U.S. right now

1:08 AM  

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