Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We're still number one!

"The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations. Criminologists and legal scholars in other industrialized nations say they are mystified and appalled by the number and length of American prison sentences. The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London. China, which is four times more populous than the United States, is a distant second, with 1.6 million people in prison. (That number excludes hundreds of thousands of people held in administrative detention, most of them in China’s extrajudicial system of re-education through labor, which often singles out political activists who have not committed crimes.)""
h/t Inteligentaindigena Indigenismo Novajoservo. This bears repeating over, and over, and over again. The myth of the USA as a bastion of "freedom" is a bad joke when that particular factoid is considered. The USA is at best a gulag nation, in which a large proportion of its population is incarcerated, tortured, and forced into slave labor, as corporate conglomerates continue to make a killing from human suffering.

Ward Churchill sez:
You’re in the United States. You’ve never read the thing, but the Constitution guarantees you certain rights. And you unequivocally have those rights, right up until the moment you exercise one. Ultimately, you have one tangible freedom in the United States: you’re free to do exactly what you’re told, all the time. That’s the one freedom you have. And the alternative? Well, we’ve got cages. We’ve got clubs. We’ve got the 82nd Airborne Division. What have you got?
"Land of the free" my ass.

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