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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A line or two on a noteworthy story..
It would appear that one of every 136 people in the United States, is an inmate of a State or Federal Prison. That's 2.2 million people, give or take a thousand or so..
Now what does this say of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave..
For one, that it's not free for all, and two, not brave enough to find an alternative to incarceration.
Now, it's likely the economics of the matter.
The statistics say prisons.. State and Federal.. housed some 1.4 million.. about two-thirds of the pie. The rest, some 750 thousand, are being held in local jails, under local juristiction and the source of Federal and State compensatory funding.. Makes sense for the town to have their own regulars in their own cells, it's always the usual suspects and there's always room for them..
That's just the economic side from the direct point of view.. there's downstreaming to all communities that have jails with inmates banging the bars..
It's also a statement of how willing the American Judicial System is willing to go, to avoid political incorectness. The backlog facing the parole services, the welfare services, the entire prison system both inside and without the walls, must be mountainous. And, in fact, it's an impossibility to maintain any type of supervision of those released, when there are still so many inside.
Allan J. Beck is the source of these numbers, by the way. He's the Chief of Corrections Statistics, for the Bureau of Justice Statistics..
Back to what it says about the American Justice System.. it's made itself into an industry, one with a never-ending stream of raw material. It would not to be to any financial advantage in the long run, to re-assess lesser cases, with inmates serving their first terms. It would not make financial sense, to de-criminalise certain recreational drugs, or so the lobbyists for the bad guys will tell us, because it would release thousands of dope-smokers on society.. It would not make financial sense for the Judiciary to assess it's system of sentencing, for that would mean less grist for the mill..
Americans are encouraged, coerced, forced in some cases, to break the law. It keeps America running.

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