Disturbing Statistic: 1 Percent In Prisons

Written by dr. j. Posted in News

For the first time in American history, more than 1% of the population is inchain gang jail or prison – that is 1 in 100 adults.

In a shocking report released by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project, 2,319,258 adults were held in American prisons or jails at the beginning of 2008, which is one out of every 99.1 adults.

That’s more than any other country in the world.

States spent more than $49 billion on corrections, which is up from $11 billion 20 years before.  "For all the money spent on corrections today, there hasn’t been a clear and convincing return for public safety," said Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project. "More and more states are beginning to rethink their reliance on prisons for lower-level offenders and finding strategies that are tough on crime without being so tough on taxpayers."

I’ve been saying that for some time. This problem is quite evident in Michigan.

Among the seven states with the largest number of prisoners, Ohio, Florida and Georgia showed increases in populations, while New York, Michigan, Texas and California saw reductions.

Who is the #1 jailor in the US? Well it’s none other than the home state of G.W., Texas. Texas recently surpassed California as the nation’s prison leader even though both are showing an overall decline in inmate populations. Kentucky had the largest increase in prisoners at 12 percent.

Many of the inmates I work with could have been better served with work programs, work release, tethers or weekend prison – options that are available in other states. Something has to be done about the spiraling costs too. If the system isn’t working, isn’t it time to entertain other options?

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