Prison watch


"In 1995, the most recent year we can use for comparative purposes, the overall incarceration rate for the United States was 600 per 100,000 population, including local jails (but not juvenile institutions). Around the world, the only country with a higher rate was Russia, at 690 per 100,000. Several other countries of the former Soviet bloc also had high rates-270 per 100,000 in Estonia, for example, and 200 in Romania-as did, among others, Singapore (229) and South Africa (368). But most industrial democracies clustered far below us, at around 55 to 120 per 100,000, with a few-notably Japan, at 36-lower still. Spain and the United Kingdom, our closest "competitors among the major nations of western Europe, imprison their citizens at a rate roughly one-sixth of ours; Holland and Scandinavia, about one-tenth."

Elliott Currie, Crime and Punishment in America

US Has the Most Prisoners in the World (12/06)
US inmates top 2 million (4/03)

"The number of people in prison, in jail, on parole, and on probation in the U.S. increased threefold between 1980 and 2000, to more than 6 million, and the number of people in prison increased from 319,598 to almost 2 million in the same period. This buildup has targeted the poor, and especially Blacks. In 1999, though Blacks were only 13 percent of the U.S. population, they were half of all prison inmates. In 2000, one out of three young Black men was either locked up, on probation, or on parole. The military-industrial complex of the 1950s, with its Cold War communist bogeyman, has been replaced by a prison-industrial complex, with young Black "predators" serving as its justification."

Dan Parkin, International Socialist Review, Jan-Feb 2002, p69



The Celling of America

" Steal $5, you're a thief; steal $5 million, you're a financier."

author unknown

Criminal Injustice

" The United States is way ahead of the rest of the industrial world in imprisoning its own population. That's for population control. None of that has anything to do with crime. "

Noam Chomsky, American linguist and US media and foreign policy critic

Lockdown America

"From 1984 to 1994, Califomia built 21 prisons, and only one state university...the prison system realized a 209% increase in funding, compared to a 15% increase in state university funding."

The Justice Policy Institute (1996)

The Perpetual Prisoner Machine

" Working class addiction to crack (cocaine) is a crime. But, middle- and upper-class addiction to drugs or alcohol is a disease. "

Sabina Virgo - Criminal Injustice

Crime and Punishment in America

War on Drugs

Drug Warriors
Just Vote No
Just Say No - the War on Drugs
Battle Fatigue

"The U.S. has both the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world, including China and Russia. The U.S. incarcerates people at a rate more than 15 times that of Japan, and its prison population is more than eight times that of Italy, France, the UK, Spain, and Australia combined."

International Socialist Review

Prison system

Burying the Facts: youth, race and the criminal justice system
Justice USA
For Justice and Against Prison
Shut Down the Prison-Industrial Complex
Return of the Madhouse - Supermax prisons
Throwing Away the Key

"Increases in prison spending [in the U.S.] average twice as high as increases in education spending."

National Criminal Justice Commission (1996)

Celling Prisoners for Private Profit
Barred for Life
Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex
Prison Activists Come of Age
Locking Up the Vote
Masked Racism: Reflections on Prison Industrial Complex
Race, Prison, and Poverty
In Bad Company
Prison Nation

"The state of California has opened only one college since 1984 -- and twenty-one prisons."

Elliott Currie, Crime and Punishment in America

The Supermax Solution
Throwing Away the Key
Fiscal Lockdown
The Last Disenfranchised Class
Felon Voting Disenfranchisement (4/04)
Going It Alone - U.S. and death penalty (7/04)
The Unique Brutality of Texas - why Lone Star State leads nation in executions (7/04)

Unworthy Citizens - ex-felons denied the vote (5/05)
Don't Throw Away the Key - Lessons from the "Get Tough On Crime" Initiatives (3/06)
American Prison Planet (11/06)
America Has Become Incarceration Nation (12/06)
Why the U.S. locks up more people than any other country (3/07)
Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment - an interview with Sasha Abramsky about her new book "American Furies" (4/07)
Prisoners of ideology - America's draconian approach to criminal justice is beginning to unravel (4/07)
Jailing Nation: How Did Our Prison System Become Such a Nightmare? (8/07)
U.S. Prison Population Dwarfs That Of Other Nations (4/08)
Solitary Confinement: Torture in the U.S. (Fall 2008)
Incarceration Nation: The Rise of a Prison-Industrial Complex (11/08)

* There are nearly four million persons currently or permanently disenfranchised as a result of laws that take away the voting rights of felons and ex-felons.

* No other democracy besides the US. disenfranchises convicted offenders for life. Many democratic nations, including Denmark, France, Israel and Poland, permit prisoners to vote as well.

* Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the disenfranchised are not in prison but are on probation, on parole or have completed their sentences.

* 1.4 million African American men -- 13 percent of the adult African American male population -- have lost the right to-vote, a rate of disenfranchisement that is seven times the national average. By comparison, in the 1996 general election 4.6 million African American men voted.

* In Florida one in three African American men has permanently lost the right to vote.

* In five states lowa, Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wyoming one in four black men (24% to 28%) have permanently lost the right to vote.

Human Rights, Justice and Reform

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