Nobody in the world loves locking people behind bars as much as Americans do. As we noted previously, we have more people in prison than any other nation on the planet. We also have a higher percentage of our population locked up than anyone else does by a very large margin. But has all of this imprisonment actually made us safer? Well, the last time I checked, crime was still wildly out of control in America and for the most recent year that we have numbers for violent crime was up 15 percent. The number of people that we have locked up has quadrupled since 1980, but this is not solving any of our problems. Clearly, what we are doing is not working.
Here is U.S. imprisonment rate per 100,000 people since 1880:
Land of the free indeed...
So, just in case anyone needed a little more crazy to end the week, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) is here to help.
Recall that last year the Arkansas Senator said that there were too many empty beds in Guantanamo...
"In my opinion the only problem with Guantanamo Bay is there are too many empty beds and cells there right now. We should be sending more terrorists there for further interrogation to keep this country safe. As far as I'm concerned every last one of them can rot in hell."
It appears as though the only thing on Cotton's mind is filling up jail cells, because now the Senator wants to enlarge US prisons so they can be filled up further. At a speech at the Hudson Institute, Cotton said that if anything, the US has an under-incarceration problem.
"There's a bill in congress now that would sharply reduce mandatory minimums for a slew of federal crimes. The bill's advocates contend that we're locking up too many offenders, for too long, for too little, and we can't afford it anyway, and we should show more empathy toward those caught up in the criminal justice system. These arguments put simply are baseless. Take a look at the facts. First, the claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact. For the vast majority of crimes, the perpetrator is never identified, or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted, and jailed. Law enforcement is able to arrest or identify a likely perpetrator for only 19 percent of property crimes and 47 percent of violent crimes. If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem."
Relevant portion begins at 9:20
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Some fact bombs...
There are 2.3 million Americans in prison or jail. The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of its prisoners. One in three black men can expect to spend time in prison. There are 2.7 million minors with an incarcerated parent. The imprisonment rate has grown by more than 400 percent since 1970.
Recent research suggests that incarceration has lost its potency. A report released this week from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law finds that increased incarceration has had a very limited effect on crime over the past two and a half decades.
– From Five-Thrity-Eight article: The Imprisoner’s Dilemma
Unfortunately for Mr Cotton, if jails could become larger and become more full than they already are, all of the world's problems would not simply go away. Perhaps Cotton should join a central bank so he can be amongst fellow "magic people," and live in denial of anecdotes, history, and facts.
#1 There are more than 2.4 million people behind bars in America as you read this article.
#2 Since 1980, the number of people incarcerated in U.S. prisons has quadrupled.
#4 Approximately 12 million people cycle through local jails in the U.S. each and every year.
#6 Approximately one out of every four prisoners on the entire planet are in U.S. prisons, but the United States only accounts for about five percent of the total global population.
#7 The state of Maryland (total population 5.9 million) has more people in prison than Iraq (total population 31.9 million).
#8 The state of Ohio (total population 11.6 million) has more people in prison than Pakistan (total population 192.1 million).
#9 Incredibly, 41 percent of all young people in America have been arrested by the time they turn 23.
#10 Between 1990 and 2009 the number of Americans in private prisons increased by about 1600 percent.
#11 At this point, private prison companies operate more than 50 percent of all “youth correctional facilities” in this nation.
#12 There are more African-Americans under “correctional supervision” right now than were in slavery in the United States in 1850.
#13 Approximately 90 percent of those being held in prisons in the United States are men.
#14 The incarceration rate for African-American men is more than 6 times higher than it is for white men.
#15 An astounding 37.2 percent of African-American men from age 20 to age 34 with less than a high school education were incarcerated in 2008.
#16 Police in New York City conducted nearly 700,000 “stop-and-frisk searches” in 2011 alone.
#17 The “SWATification” of America has gotten completely and totally out of control. Back in 1980, there were only about 3,000 SWAT raids in the United States for the entire year. Today, there are more than 80,000 SWAT raids in the United States every single year.
#18 Illegal immigrants make up approximately 30 percent of the total population in our federal, state and local prisons.
#19 The average “minimum security” inmate in federal prison costs U.S. taxpayers $21,000 a year.
#20 The average “maximum security” inmate in federal prison costs U.S. taxpayers $33,000 a year.
#21 Overall, it costs more than 60 billion dollars a year to keep all of these people locked up.
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Finally, we wonder just how much funding Mr. Cotton gets from The Deep State private prisons?