national disgrace


1)The United States has less than 5% of the world's population. But it has almost a quar­ter of the world’s prisoners. The United States leads the world in producing prison­ers
2)A generation of growth has produced prison populations that are now eight times what they were in 1970. And there is no end to the growth under current policies.
3)For the same crimes, American prisoners receive sentences twice as long as English prisoners, three times as long as Canadian prisoners, four times as long as Dutch prisoners, five to 10 times as long as French prisoners, and five times as long as Swedish prisoners. Yet these countries’ rates of violent crime are lower than ours, and their rates of property crime are comparable.
4) By far the major reason for the increase in prison populations at least since 1990 has been longer lengths of imprisonment. according to the Department of Justice’s own study, between 1990 and 1997, the numbers of prison admissions increased by only 17% while the prison population increased by 60% . This larger increase in the prison population can only be caused by a longer length of stay.
5) It costs about $25,000 a year to house a person in prison. Between 1985 and 2000, spending on corrections rose at six times the rate of spending for higher education. Essentially, policymakers are faced with a choice of whether they wish to contribute to an expanded prison system or provide vital social services. They can no longer do both.