America's Prison Reality

by phil on Thursday Jun 24, 2004 9:21 AM

From the World Prison Population List

- More than 8.75 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world. About half of
these are in the following three countries: United States (1.96m), Russia (0.92m) or China (1.43m).

- 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).

- However, more than three-fifths of countries (62.5%) have rates below 150 per 100,000. (The
United Kingdom's rate of 139 per 100,000 of the national population places it above the midpoint
in the World List; it is now the highest among countries of the European Union.)

Do you still love America?

The Wall Street Journal raises its right hand and says, "America's poor are better off than the average European." Unfortunately, I bet that their usage of "capita" doesn't count prisoners.

Prison life in America stinks as well: U.S. prison inmates have been beaten with fists and batons, stomped on, kicked, shot, stunned with electronic devices, doused with chemical sprays, choked, and slammed face first onto concrete floors by the officers whose job it is to guard them. Inmates have ended up with broken jaws, smashed ribs, perforated eardrums, missing teeth, burn scars—not to mention psychological scars and emotional pain. Some have died.

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