There is a tremendous cost to incarcerating people…throwing them in jail.
#1 – There is a tremendous imbalance in terms of the ratio of whites, blacks and Hispanics.
Despite the huge population of incarcerated people it is far from a representative portion of the population. While the national average is 1 in 100, only 1 in 106 is a white male. Shockingly, 1 in 15 Black men are incarcerated. This is like 2 people out of every classroom. Comparatively 1 in 36 Hispanic men are incarcerated fully 300% more than their white counterparts.
#2 – America has 25% of all the world’s prisoners
#3 – It is a big business for private prison systems
We wrote about this in our article Private prison company offers to buy 48 states’ prisons for $250 Million
#4 – It costs you money – lots of money
Online Education writes:
Consider firstly the yearly tax burden of the average US household which is roughly $19,000. Comparatively, it costs $23,876 a year to house, feed, and care for an inmate. To give more perspective most parents spend $7,000 per child on education and close to $9,000 in healthcare costs per person. In light of such numbers no one should be shocked to find out that we spent $44 Billion on corrections in 2007 alone.
“According to the US Department of Justice, 30-40 percent of all current prison admissions involve crimes that have no direct or obvious victim other than the perpetrator.”
A very large % of people are in jail for taking drugs that does no harm to anyone but themselves. The increase in prison population can be directly attributed to the “War on Drugs”.
Says Paul Butler from the NY TIMES:
IF you are ever on a jury in a marijuana case, I recommend that you vote “not guilty” — even if you think the defendant actually smoked pot, or sold it to another consenting adult. As a juror, you have this power under the Bill of Rights; if you exercise it, you become part of a proud tradition of American jurors who helped make our laws fairer.
Jury nullification is not new; its proponents have included John Hancock and John Adams. The doctrine is premised on the idea that ordinary citizens, not government officials, should have the final say as to whether a person should be punished. As Adams put it, it is each juror’s “duty” to vote based on his or her “own best understanding, judgment and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”
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