Statistics On Jail In The USA

As I have previously written about, jailing otherwise “sovereign” human beings in the United States, for anything other than a direct crime against another person, animal, or property, is one of the least intellectual things ever, and needs to stop immediately.

Jail cells @ Alcatraz Island – San Francisco – California USA. For violent offenders, this might be ok. For a mom who wants to eat cannabis? A crime against all humans, ever.

A while back, I randomly came across some statistics on the incarcerated population in the United States, and highlighted a few that should magnify the problem for anyone who cares to take a critical look. While these numbers will most likely change by the time you are reading this, sadly they are on the path of changing for the worse – more humans jailed for the imagined “crime against their self.”

  • The United States has ~5% of the world’s population, but ~25% of the world’s prisoners. This is easily the highest per capita prisoner rate in the world with over 2 million humans currently incarcerated.
  • Around 1 in every 110 adults in the USA is currently in prison.
  • There has been a ~500% increase in the prison population over the last 40 years, while US general population has risen just ~40%. This is a staggering disparity that is simply not sustainable.
  • The number of people behind bars for drugs has increased 1100% since 1980. These are non-violent “crimes” against one’s self.
  • Since the official beginning of the War on Drugs in the 1980s, the number of people incarcerated for drug offenses in the United States skyrocketed from 40,900 in 1980 to 452,964 in 2017. Today, there are more people behind bars for a drug offense than the number of people who were in prison or jail for any crime in 1980. The number of people sentenced to prison for property and violent crimes has also increased even during periods when crime rates have declined.

How is this not obvious to all? Is it obvious to you? I could buy it when I was a child that the “scary drug offenders” needed to be put in prison but as a 40-something-year-old man trying to reconcile humans being put into a cage by other human beings for putting something into their own body? To me that is a very scary authoritarian action that is not defendable in any way.


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