Friday, February 15, 2019

Developing Prospective of the Growing Prison Complex

According to recent Justice Department figures in 2000, then Texas Governor George W. Bush's "compassionate conservative" brand of law-n-order had produced the largest prison population with the faste

It is interesting to note that now that Bush is President of the country and America is home to the largest growing prison complex in the world. There are more prisons being built per capita than in any time in our history and it appears that even against all odds , restrictive laws, and stringent penalties America is producing more crime than ever before.

Larry Todd, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, defends the fact that one out of every twenty adult Texans are under some form of police control by declaring that the state's high incarceration rate was the direct result of "voter approved" get-tough policies being imposed upon the lower working class by (Governor at that time) George W. Bush's administration.

In fact, Justice Policy Institute Director Vincent Schiraldi said if the Lone Star State were a country, it would comprise the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Certainly, Bush's leadership record as high executioner and chief law enforcement officer of Texas revealed the coercive spirit that underlies Republican Presidential Candidate Bush's "compassionate conservative" philosophy. It was surmised that If he should be elected along with a Republican controlled Congress, then it is reasonable to expect Bush and his social conservative supporters (the NRA and the Religious Right Movement) to push for nationwide "get tough" legislation that can conceivably result in well over 9 million impoverished American citizens being criminalized and kept under some form of government surveillance and/or legalized detention.

According to Gail Russell Chaddock | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor hailing out of Washington stated that "More than 5.6 million Americans are in prison or have served time there, according to a new report by the Justice Department released Sunday. That's 1 in 37 adults living in the United States, the highest incarceration level in the world. It's the first time the US government has released estimates of the extent of imprisonment, and the report's statistics have broad implications for everything from state fiscal crises to how other nations view the American experience."

The statistics come after many years of get-tough policies - as well as years when violent-crime rates have generally fallen. But to some observers, they point to broader failures in US society, particularly in regard to racial minorities and others who are economically disadvantaged. Should current trends continue, it would mean that a black male in the United States would have about a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison during his lifetime. For a Hispanic male, it's 1 in 6; for a white male, 1 in 17. Marc Mauer, assistant director of The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington says "for the generation of black children today, there's almost an inevitable aspect of going to prison," "We have the wealthiest society in human history, and we maintain the highest level of imprisonment. It's striking what that says about our approach to social problems and inequality."

Does the impact of incarceration end with the sentence? Former inmates can be excluded from receiving public assistance, living in public housing, or receiving financial aid for college. Ex-felons are prohibited from voting in many states. And with the increased use of background checks - especially since 9/11 - they may be permanently locked out of jobs in many professions, including education, child care, driving a bus, or working in a nursing home. As many persist in their beliefs that incarceration is the ticket to improving the society, statistics show that if trends maintain its current growth in prison population most citizens will be able to claim these unconstitutional circumstances. ( not being able to vote, work, continually under surveillance and not able to survive as a normal citizen after becoming a ward of the state as a convict). More than 4 million prisoners or former prisoners are denied a right to vote; in 12 states, that ban is for life. "That's why racial profiling has become such a priority issue for African-Americans, because it is the gateway to just such a statistic," says Yvonne Scruggs- Leftwich, chief operating officer of the Black Leadership Forum, in Washington. "It means that large numbers in the African-American community are disenfranchised, sometimes permanently."

A number of states are already scaling back prohibitions or limits on voting affecting former inmates, including Maryland, Delaware, New Mexico, and Texas.

More than 8.75 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world, mostly as pre-trial detainees (remand prisoners) or having been convicted and sentenced. About half of these are in the United States (1.96m), Russia (0.92m) or China (1.43m plus pre-trial detainees and prisoners in "administrative detentionâ".

The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 686 per 100,000 of the national population, followed by the Cayman Islands (664), Russia (638), Belarus (554), Kazakhstan (522), Turkmenistan (489), Belize (459), Bahamas (447), Suriname (437) and Dominica (420).

What appears to be stunningly amazing is that Women have been cited as the fasted growing population of inmates within the growth of the total prison complex expansion. There are a number of things to be said about this issue, however for now it suffices to say that we need to examine the causes of this increase, the symptoms of our culture and the remedies we have chosen to implement to resolve this international crisis.

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Credo is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Developing Prospective of the Growing Prison Complex

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By cherry-eyed on July 17, 2007 at 04:58 pm
Excellent topic that should be discussed more, enjoyed reading your article. Ive read (cant remember where) that on average, it cost the government about $20,000 a year to keep a person in prison within the US. Simple arithmetic shows the cost spent on incaceration to be far more than is spent on educating your average student here in America. This begs the question, where are our priorities?
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By Credo on October 08, 2007 at 08:39 pm
Thank you guys for your comments as they were well received,I will endeavor to live up to your praise in the future. Perhaps we should start a blog to discuss many other topics like this one, it may serve to hone our writing skills. with gratitude Credo
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By Credo on May 05, 2011 at 11:44 am

Thanks again


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