Monday, July 26, 2004

The prison nation -- one nation under bars.

MSNBC - U.S. prison, parole population sets record
... about 3.2 percent of the adult U.S. population, or 1 in 32 adults, were incarcerated or on probation or parole at the end of last year.

This number doesn't include those who've been previously convicted for a felony. The article also didn't provide percentages by ethnicity; based on past reports it's likely that the percentage of incarcerated black men is substantially higher than 3.2%.

I'd wager that one of the best measures of the psychic health of an industrialized nation is the incarceration rate multiplied by the murder rate. It would be interesting to plot that number for a range of industrialized nations. I'm pretty sure the US would rank dead last. It would also be interesting to plot that number for American states; the result would be a good guide on the best places to live.

Is there any number that will spark outrage? 5%? 10%? 40%!?

When do we say enough?

Who will be the Dickens for 21st century America?

No comments: