Locked Up In America

A new Gallup survey was released yesterday that indicates opinions in America are shifting with regard to marijuana use. Given the legal penalties for drug use, and the current overcrowded state of America’s aptly named ‘prison industrial complex, it’s time to revisit the nation’s record on crime and punishment.

With so many behind bars for drug charges at a time when the legalization of marijuana spreads across the country, Americans are paying more attention to the question, “Why do we have so many prisoners?” With 25 percent of the world’s prisoners comprised of Americans in U.S. prisons, this question deserves attention. The following infographic explores and contextualizes the ins and outs of mass incarceration in the United States. It is being shared with you with the hope that you’ll make some use of it by getting informed and staying involved.

 

Locked Up in America
 

Locked up in America

Greetings from the Country that holds 1/4 of the world’s prisoners.[3]

America has the largest correctional budget of the world.
Largest Spending States Total:
1.)California:$7,900,000,000
2.)New York:$3,600,000,000
3.)Texas:$3,300,000,000
4.)Pennsylvania:$2,100,000,000
5.)Florida:$2,080,000,000
Largest Spending per prisoner:
1.)New York:$60,076
2.)New Jersey:$54,865
3.)Connecticut:$50,262
4.)Vermont:$49,502
5.)Rhode Island:$49,133
———
Total Spending: $39,000,000,000
That’s 2/3 of the entire public education budget
Or the equivalent of the average earnings of 18.7 million families in the U.S.
———–
And the most prisoners:
[plot out number of inmates per year, info on spreadsheet.Can also include the percfentage change per year plotted as bars going up and down from the trend line--also on spreadsheet.][5][6][9]
Top Five yearly increases in prison population
[year, percentage increase from previous year][5][6]
1.)2003-2004:51%+
2.)1988-1989:21%+
3.) 1991-1992:14%+
4.)1926-1927:12%+
5.)1981-1982:12%+
with 1/9 serving a LIFE SENTENCE[4]
In comparison:
[inmates per 100,000 citizens][9]
America: 760
Japan: 63
Germany: 90
France: 96
South Korea: 97
Britain: 153

Leaving the U.S. with 5% of the world’s population, and 25% of the world’s prisoners. [3]

Why? Because we “define deviancy down.”

Patrick Moynihan(1993) “Defining Deviency Down”[2]
What we learn:
“the number of deviancies which come to a community’s attention are limited by the kinds of equipment it uses to detect and handle them”
3 stocks = 3 “criminal” drunkards from last night.
New York’s Mental Hospital “warehouses” (1955) = 94,000 New Yorkers[2]
New Medicines=the belief that we could cure deviancy that way=1 mental hospital for 100,000 citizens
[Massive Decrease]
(1992)=11,363 New Yorkers [2]
[#images of drug dogs, swat, survaillence, then:]
4,575 current correctional institutions=2,270,142 prisoners
(optional info: “Which is actually greater than the prison system’s official capacity–2,270,142/2,265,000)

The privatization of prisons also incentivizes incarceration.
Locations of private prison centers:
[from 2/3 major private prison companies][11][12]
texas 24
Tennessee 7
Arizona 9
California 8
Florida 8
Georgia 10
Colorado 6
Oklahoma 5
Kentucky 3
New Mexico 6
Indiana 3
Louisiana 3
Mississippi 2
Washington 1
Ohio 2
Montana 1
New York 1
Nevada 1
Pennsylvania 1
New Jersey 1
Idaho 1
North Carolina 1
Virginia 1
Minnesota 1
Kansas 1
D.C. 1

Because states sign contracts agreeing to fill up private prison beds, or pay a monetary penalty.[4]

So even if you aren’t doing anything wrong, they’ll find something to book you for:
[type of offense, percentage of total prisoners.][10]
For Federal Prisons:
Drug Offenses: (46.8 %)
Weapons, Explosives, Arson: (16.4 %)
Immigration: (11.7 %)
Robbery: (4.1 %)
Burglary, Larceny, Property Offenses: (4.1 %)
Extortion, Fraud, Bribery: (5.8 %)
Homicide, Aggravated Assault, and Kidnapping Offenses: (3.0 %)
Miscellaneous: (0.8 %)
Sex Offenses: (6.2 %)
Banking and Insurance, Counterfeit, Embezzlement: (0.4 %)
Courts or Corrections: (0.3 %)
Continuing Criminal Enterprise: (0.3 %)
National Security: (0.0 %)

With well over half the prison population performing victimless crimes.
That’s what it means to be locked up in America.

 

Source: Criminal Justice Degree Hub

Author: Jack Kelle is a graduate student of research psychology at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. He’s pursuing experience in research across many fields, especially the kind that allows him to share meaningful information with others. 

 



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