Incarceration Nation

According to a Pew Charitable Trust report released yesterday, “at the start of 2008, 2,319,258 adults were held in American prisons or jails, or one in every 99.1 men and women.” This plague, the result of repressive legislation and tougher sentences rater than higher crime rates, is more likely to affect blacks, men, and people in their 20s. From the Pew press release: “The most recent U.S. Department of Justice data (2006) found that while one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, the figure is one in nine for black males in that age group. Men are still roughly 13 times more likely to be incarcerated, but the female population is expanding at a far brisker pace. For black women in their mid- to late-30s, the incarceration rate also has hit the one-in-100 mark. In addition, one in every 53 adults in their 20s is behind bars; the rate for those over 55 is one in 837.” Has the United States become a big Panopticon?
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Read the entire report by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project.

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