U.S. Prison Population Tops 2 Million

  U.S. Prison Population Tops 2 Million

Posted by CN Staff on April 07, 2003 at 07:32:43 PT
By Curt Anderson, Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press 

Washington - With the federal government leading the way, the number of inmates in American prisons topped 2 million for the first time, the Justice Department reports.California, Texas, Florida and New York were the four biggest state prison systems, mirroring their status as the most populous states. However nine states - including Texas, California, New York and Illinois - saw their inmate populations drop compared with the year before as prison releases outpaced admissions.
The federal government accounted for more inmates than any state, with nearly 162,000, according to a report Sunday by the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics. That number includes the transfer of about 8,900 District of Columbia prisoners to the federal system.The record prison population figures were driven by get-tough policies that mandate long terms for drug offenders and other criminals.Some states modified parole rules to deal with steep budget shortfalls, leading to an overall growth rate in state prison populations of just under 1 percent from June 2001 to June 2002. The federal prison population grew by 5.7 percent.The total inmate population on June 30, 2002, was 2.1 million, an increase of 2.8 percent from the year before. Two-thirds were in federal or state prisons, with the other third held in jails, the report said.The report did not count all juvenile offenders, which if included in the past would have driven the nation's inmate population over the 2 million mark years ago. But the report did note that there were more than 10,000 inmates under age 18 held in adult prisons and jails last year.Malcolm Young, executive director of The Sentencing Project, said the increase continues a prison growth trend stemming from tough penalties meted out to drug abusers and traffickers as well as "three strikes" laws that can mandate life sentences for repeat offenders."It's part of the get-tough scheme. It's been going on for 30 years," said Young, whose organization advocates alternatives to incarceration, such as special drug courts and treatment programs.This is especially true at the federal level, where efforts to reduce sentences for such crimes as crack cocaine trafficking - far higher than sentences for dealing in powder cocaine - have failed in Congress.The Supreme Court this month upheld California's "three strikes" law even though the defendant's final crime involved theft of golf clubs. Attorney General John Ashcroft has pushed for tougher prison sentences, including a recent directive barring many people convicted of white-collar and nonviolent crimes from doing their time in halfway houses. The report's other findings:* The incarceration rate, counting state and federal prisoners sentenced to more than one year, was 474 for every 100,000 U.S. residents, compared with 472 the year before. That means 1 in every 142 U.S. residents was in prison or jail in mid-2002.* Jails supervised about 738,000 people in June 2002, compared with about 702,000 a year earlier. Many people in jails are awaiting trials or transfer to other facilities, while some serve short sentences there or are housed there because of state prison overcrowding.* More than 72,400 jail inmates were supervised under programs such as drug treatment, electronic monitoring, community service or home detention.* About 12 percent of all black men in the United States aged 20 to 39 were in prison or jail, by far the highest single group. In contrast, 4 percent of Hispanic males and 1.6 percent of white males in that age group were incarcerated.* The number of women in federal and state prisons topped 96,000, an increase of 1.9 percent from 2001. Men in these prisons totaled 1.3 million, up about 1.4 percent, and men also total about 88 percent of jail populations on a given day.On the Net:Bureau of Justice Statistics: Source: Associated PressAuthor:  Curt Anderson, Associated PressPublished: Monday, April 07, 2003Copyright: 2003 Associated Press Related Articles & Web Site:DrugSense: Drug War Clock American Gulag in The Making Millions Behind Bars in U.S. Complex

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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 08, 2003 at 14:23:00 PT

Industrial Strength 
It's really hard trying to be polite sometimes. One thing I've learned is I tried being nice to many people over the years but found some people will still walk on you. I believe we should be nice but firm in our convictions. They can go together. We shouldn't have to be pushovers. Ed Rosenthal and Valerie Corral are two examples of people who are nice but strong willed too. They are my heros.
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Comment #5 posted by Industrial Strength on April 08, 2003 at 14:16:29 PT

how nice
"Some states modified parole rules to deal with steep budget shortfalls" So that means rapists are paroled to make room for people like Ed Rosenthal. Great.FoM, I couldn't agree more with "If a person is kind to me I will listen to them but if they yell and scream at me I tune out." However, I think that what we are fighting is so powerful it can only destroy itself. We can keep considerately pointing things out to believers, but they can only be disillusioned by the people they have placed their faith in. Mahalo.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 08, 2003 at 08:18:11 PT

Thank you. I agree with what you said. Maybe that's why I do my best to not be critical of our government. It only shuts doors. By speaking with conviction and humility we can win but yelling and screaming and cursing will only make those who might listen turn off I believe. I know this site is read by antis and I try to assume they might listen if we are considerate. If a person is kind to me I will listen to them but if they yell and scream at me I tune out.
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Comment #3 posted by Doobinie on April 08, 2003 at 06:28:16 PT

FoM- You pose a very interesting dilemma: "How can good people overthrow the government without going to jail for doing something that would upset the government?"I think that the answer to your question is that the good people of America need to rediscover what it actually means to be American. The good people of America have let themselves be fooled into believing that it is wrong to question their government, when, if you think about it, it was questioning the government that brought about America's birth and purportedly made it great and free. Unfortunately, the elite in your country (those who brought you your Soviet-style revolution-from-above, telling you that it was actually a grass-roots popular movement and initiative) have managed to keep the populace fooled into believing that they should defer to authority, now that they are the ones who are in the positions of power. How convenient, no? They insist on the right to carry guns, and insist that everyone should, but do not tell you that the provision for the right to bear arms, as enshrined in your constitution by your founding fathers, actually is a measure to ensure that the people are able to overthrow a repressive and oppressive government. They insist on your rights, without ever informing you of your responsibility, fearing that you might take your responsibilities and take them out of power. Americans need to remember that their leaders are not kings appointed by God to rule unopposed, but mere men who have been using smoke and mirrors to receive an indirect blessing from the American people to carry out their evil deeds. They oppress you and tell you that it is for your own good, kinda like they are bombing the crap out of the Iraqi people and trying to get them to believe that it is for their own good as well.I am not advocating a violent overthrow of the government, as I believe that present day America's violent tendencies are borne from the violence of your birthing as a nation. I do, however, believe that the United States are one of many nations under God, and that the American people's eyes will be opened to the schemes of your evil kings, and that though it does not yet, a day will come when your stars and stripes will wave over a land that is actually free, and home to the brave. To come back to your question: "How can good people overthrow the government without going to jail for doing something that would upset the government?", I would say that the only way that you can overthrow your government is to speak the truth in love, and to inform and educate your fellow citizens to help them to see and identify the evil that you see. With education will come awareness, and with awareness will come action. Spead the good news that you no longer have to live under tyranny. The solution is to vote them out, and try them for treason: treason of the people's trust and good will, treason of your constitution and its values, and treason to the values that they claim to champion, yet cannot respect themselves.Love, Peace and Hope to my American Sibblingry,Doobinie in Soviet Canuckistan
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 07, 2003 at 17:29:31 PT

You ask when will good people overthrow the government. I've heard many people ask that question over the years but no one ever says how to do it. How can good people overthrow the government without going to jail for doing something that would upset the government?
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Comment #1 posted by Kegan on April 07, 2003 at 17:19:49 PT

Land of The Free
When are the good people of the US going to overthrow their facist government?Jails and bombs. God Bless America.
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