We have more people in prison in the US, per capita, than almost any other nation on earth.
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One in three black men will be incarcerated in his lifetime.
48% of the people in prison are there for minor drug offences. Drug addicts go through painful withdrawal in prison cells, rather than receiving the medical and mental health services they need.
Once incarcerated, prisoners get put to work for major corporations, like McDonald’s, AT&T, Walmart, Whole Foods, and many others. They earn as little as 23 cents per hour. And the products they produce say “Made in the USA!”
Private, for profit prisons have lobbied for longer sentences, three strikes laws, and anti-immigrant laws, all to keep their occupancy rates high, and their profits up. (Please read all about changes to our private prison system here: https://justnomore.com/news/obama-changed-fabric-of-society/ )
While some sentencing is mandated, many sentences are left to the judge’s discretion. There was wild internet outrage when college student Brock Turner was sentenced to 6 months for raping an unconscious woman. Then college student Corey Batey was sentenced to 15 years for raping an unconscious woman.
Neighborhood gang members who put together a phone card scam and rip of dozens of their neighbors get charged with conspiracy on top of all of the other charges.
Wall Street Bankers who engaged in predatory lending and were the architects of the financial crisis that sent the worldwide economy into a tailspin, cost an estimated 9 million jobs in the USA, and caused millions of Americans to lose their homes, were charged with nothing.
We as a nation need to examine what it is that prison is supposed to do for society.
Is it to take dangerous people off the streets? Punish people who have committed crimes? Rehabilitate? Or is the purpose of prison to provide cheap labor for corporate profit?