Denver Direct: What’s Wrong With Our Country?

Saturday, April 30, 2005

What’s Wrong With Our Country?

Thanks to “The Real Cost of Prisons Weblog” (Click on title for entire article).

“Nearly 1,000 new individuals incarcerated each week in US…

Despite crime being in decline for over a decade, these numbers show a persistent rise in prison population, and push the US’s rate of incarceration to a startling 726 per 100,000-maintaining the US status as the world’s leading incarcerator (*England-142, *China-118, *France-91, *Japan-58, *Nigeria-31—*Incarceration rates per 100,000 citizens).
“Unless we promote alternatives to prison, the nation will continue to lead the world in imprisonment,” says Jason Ziedenberg, executive director of the Justice Policy Institute. “While the numbers of incarcerated people continue to rise, some legislators are realizing that by removing the barriers to housing and jobs that formerly incarcerated individuals face when re-entering their communities, we can improve public safety, cut corrections costs, and rebuild communities.”

Kaplan said the growth was caused by factors including: increased arrest rates for low-level offenses, particularly in low-income neighborhoods where many residents cannot meet bail, the increased detention of non-citizen immigrants in county facilities, and a rising number of people with mental illness who were formerly residing in mental health facilities. She said jail growth could easily be addressed by implementing the reforms that move people through, and frequently out, of the system faster. “