The prison industry is a booming one. Instead of having convicted criminals pay double restitution to their victims, the state locks them up at taxpayer expense. This lets them get advanced training for the day they get paroled.
Now the government is re-defining crime to arrest law-abiding citizens.
From the indefinite detention (without trial) of terrorism suspectsboth foreign and American to the escalating militarization of our nation’s police forces, there’s little to indicate that any level of government is willing to “walk back” the overreach of law enforcement, much of which stems from the Patriot Act’s anti-terrorism aims.
This is where we are heading. “The New Yorker recently published a piece on incarceration in America, highlighting some very disturbing facts about the “land of the free:”
The accelerating rate of incarceration over the past few decades
is just as startling as the number of people jailed: in 1980, there were about
two hundred and twenty people incarcerated for every hundred thousand Americans;
by 2010, the number had more than tripled, to seven hundred and thirty-one. No
other country even approaches that. In the past two decades, the money that
states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher
The main crime today is now drug possession and sale — not violent crime against the public. Violent crimes are at the lowest level in nearly a half-century.
The war on drugs is a failure, yet it absorbs the money that should be used to reduce violent crimes.
“Zero-tolerance” policies have taken any sort of perspective or judgment out of the hands of judges and turned possession of minor amounts of controlled substances into 30-year sentences. Zero-tolerance is creeping into other areas of life as well, evidenced by public schools punishing 4-year-old students for hugging each other (“sexual harassment”) or the fact that the highest percentage of additions to sexual offender registries are teen boys between the ages of 14-16. Between the growth of zero-tolerance and the expanding definition of such terms as “cyberbullying,” “sexual assault” and “terrorism,” it’s not likely that our nation’s incarceration rate will decline any time soon.
The big winners are private firms that build prisons.
Perhaps as a result of declining violent crime statistics, many law
enforcement entities are expanding their surveillance areas with the use of spy drones.
It’s tough to justify budget increases if you don’t have enough arrests to back
up expenditures on military weapons and vehicles. The solution seems to be to
cast the net wider and worry about sorting out the innocents after a few hours
(or days) in lockup. . . .
The worst part is that we’re all paying for it. Our tax dollars are being used to put our friends and neighbors in prison. Our money is used to turn 14-year-old boys into sexual offenders and incarcerate large numbers of minorities. It’s extracted complicity and as long as those in power continue to see no reprisal for these actions, it will continue until it’s truly too late.
The solution is the restoration of restitution for economic crimes and capital punishment for murder. The liberals who run the criminal justice system want neither.