The U.S. Prison State

A new study has come out that exposes, yet again, the lie of this being "the land of the free".

Nearly half of all US adults have had an immediate family member incarcerated at some point in their lives, according to a new study.

Researchers also reported one in seven adults have seen immediate family incarcerated for over a year, with minorities most impacted.
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The report estimates 64% of US adults have had someone in their family spend at least one night in jail or prison.

One in five US adults has had a parent incarcerated, according to the study, resulting in serious financial and emotional consequences.

In essence, going to prison is a right of passage for the poor in America.
Half of the people reading this is directly related to someone who spent time in prison.

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Here's a few reasons why we throw so many U.S. citizens in prison.
Length of sentencing.

A 2014 report from the National Research Center also concluded that "lengthy prison sentences are ineffective as a crime control measure."

"In terms of deterring crime, research for a long time has told us that the certainty of punishment is much more effective than the severity of punishment," Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, told ATTN:. "If you can increase the odds that a person will be apprehended, some people will think twice about what they're doing, whereas increasing the amount of punishment that's imposed — most people don't think they're going to be apprehended, whether it's shoplifting or murder, so they're not particularly thinking about the severity of punishment that might take place."
"So the longer sentences buy us very little in terms of determent," Mauer added.

What longer sentences are associated with, however, are larger prison populations.

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Two-tiered prison system

Most people in jail in the United States have yet to be found guilty of any crime. Approximately 60 percent of individuals locked up in local jails are awaiting trial. Under our constitutional system, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty. They are mostly there because they cannot afford to pay money bail.

It's obvious that wealthy people don't have the same problem.

Another article that came out just a few days ago that is enlightening.

Nationwide, interest in becoming a police officer is down significantly. In Nashville, job applications dropped from 4,700 in 2010 to 1,900 last year. In Seattle, applications have declined by nearly 50 percent in a department where the starting salary is $79,000. Even the FBI had a sharp drop, from 21,000 applications per year to 13,000 last year, before a new marketing campaign brought an upswing.

And retaining officers once they’ve joined is getting harder, too. In a PERF survey of nearly 400 police departments, 29 percent of those who left their police job voluntarily had been on the force less than a year, and an additional 40 percent had been on the job less than five years. At a PERF gathering in Washington on Tuesday of police chiefs and commanders from across the country, many attributed their declining numbers to a diminished perception of police in the years after the shooting and unrest in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 and an increase in public and media scrutiny of police made possible by technology and social media.

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You can't blame people for not wanting to be in a job where you are hated.
It isn't because of legal consequences for shooting people.

One researcher reported that there are about 1,000 police shootings each year in the United States.

Between 2005 and April 2017, 80 officers had been arrested on murder or manslaughter charges for on-duty shootings. During that 12-year span, 35% were convicted, while the rest were pending or not convicted, according to work by Philip Stinson, an associate professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

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I think one of the factors in lower number of applicants and retention of police is cell phones. From what I read, one of the first things the Black Panthers did in Oakland was to follow cops and record police brutality. With cell phones we see a lot more police misconduct recorded. Criminality is harder to cover up, and I can only guess that cops who are caught but let go may experience public shaming, not to mention online harassment of them and families.

Just looking at youtube videos, one can see a lot of deliberate police aggression toward regular, law abiding citizens. They are the ones who escalate to the point of getting an arrest.

And of course, police departments and jails have become money making cost centers. I can see a point in the near future where literally every adult has been arrested with hefty fines.

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gulfgal98's picture

that the United States has become a very barbaric country. We are sending people to prison for very small crimes and without any chance of redemption. Then we further penalize those people by denying them jobs, social services, and even the ability to vote.

This is the very antithesis of what Jesus preached and yet those who profess to be the best Christians also seem to be those who are the most punitive.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

dystopian's picture

Prisons for profit was one of the beginnings of the end. It was followed by mass incarceration for non-violent offenses such as minor small-quantity cannabis possesion, etc., which was now very profitable. It was also followed by a drug testing industry, civil forfeiture abuse, militarization of the police, full scale oppresion. More prisoners get less and worse food and medical care, even substandard, due to the acceptability of this insane system.

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein