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Sat Jan 28, 2012, 05:00 PM

There are more people in US prisons now than were in Stalin's gulags.

"Six million people are under correctional supervision in the U.S.—more than were in Stalin’s gulags. "

The Caging of America
Why do we lock up so many people?
by Adam Gopnik
The New Yorker

Excerpt:
Texas alone has sentenced more than four hundred teen-agers to life imprisonment,

Excerpt:In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.

Facts:
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 education.

Very good read, recommended.

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2012/01/30/120130crat_atlarge_gopnik



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Reply There are more people in US prisons now than were in Stalin's gulags. (Original post)
dixiegrrrrl Jan 2012 OP
Jim__ Jan 2012 #1
dixiegrrrrl Jan 2012 #2
gopiscrap Jan 2012 #3
Guy Montag Jan 2012 #4
bemildred Jan 2012 #5
saras Jan 2012 #10
bemildred Jan 2012 #11
bemildred Jan 2012 #12
morningfog Jan 2012 #6
Project Grudge Jan 2012 #7
SnakeEyes Jan 2012 #8
Igel Jan 2012 #9
morningfog Jan 2012 #16
jwirr Jan 2012 #13
Hawkowl Jan 2012 #14
Soylent Brice Jan 2012 #15
dixiegrrrrl Jan 2012 #17
Soylent Brice Feb 2012 #20
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2012 #21
Solly Mack Jan 2012 #18
Lydia Leftcoast Jan 2012 #19
RainDog Feb 2012 #22
Uncle Joe Feb 2012 #23
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2012 #25
Uncle Joe Feb 2012 #26
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2012 #28
patrick t. cakes Feb 2012 #24
sarcasmo Feb 2012 #27
Rex Feb 2012 #29
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2012 #30

Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sat Jan 28, 2012, 05:37 PM

1. “If mass incarceration is considered as a system of social control ... then the system ...

“... is a fantastic success.”

The most infuriating part of the article was this memo from Corrections Corporation of America:

Our growth is generally dependent upon our ability to obtain new contracts to develop and manage new correctional and detention facilities. . . . The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 28, 2012, 06:17 PM

2. So, the War on Drugs and on illegal immigration IS because of the profit motive.

Man, that is a hell of admission in that quote.
Our approach to criminal justice is the profit motive.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sat Jan 28, 2012, 06:37 PM

3. I'll say it once again: BUSINESS IS EVIL

this rush to corrections is because some greedy fuckers found a way to make a buck of off people's misery!

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 06:01 AM

4. And the Neo Cons, Smurk, Snarl, Rummie and others who deserve solitary confinement

are free. We'd be safer if we released most of the people we warred on because they used illegal substances in trade for those who started illegal wars and did false flag operations.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 09:52 AM

5. You become what you hate. nt

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Response to bemildred (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 02:00 PM

10. If that were true, right-wingers would be gods - they hate everything good that life produces.

 

You become what you obsess over, whether you love, hate, or are indifferent to it.

This is why most religious figures of significance preach constant awareness of God's goodness, and why most empire builders preach constant awareness of evil enemies.

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Response to saras (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 02:11 PM

11. Well, it's a metaphor, one doesn't want to be too literal with it.

I'm pretty sure the Pubbies won't like me, but I don't expect them to become me for that reason.

The point is that if you hate too much, you become hateful, so to speak, literally, full of hate. So the idea is that you need to get a grip before you start thrashing around about something you don't like, lest you become hateful too.

In this context, the line of thought would be that in our agitation to attack all things Soviet, we have adopted many of the methods we criticize in them. Which seems, at minimum, like an own-goal.

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Response to saras (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 02:18 PM

12. Good edit.

Well said.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 10:23 AM

6. When will we ever change?

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 10:27 AM

7. This is a great, informative article.

here's what struck me:


"Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today—perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then."


wow. Anyone who thinks Jim Crow is over isn't paying attention.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 10:35 AM

8. Stalin didn't have as many in gulags

Because he killed many many more.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 12:45 PM

9. Not everybody incarcerated in the USSR was in a GULag.

Many were in internal exile--not, strictly speaking, part of the GULag system. Internal exile could be fairly innocuous--exiling an academic from Moscow to Estonia, for example. Or less innocuous, exiling a dissident to a village in Siberia.

We also routinely ignore the numbers of dead from the GULags.

You want fun, compare any high-security prison with the accounts in Shalamov's "Kolyma Tales." And if you find a chance egregious account in the US, consider that Kolyma was the way the government and powers that be formally intended it to run.

Then there were the actual prisons and jails. Easy to fill them with whomever you want when the government is the employer and has the right to fire anybody--and then to imprison you because you have no official, legal means of support.

We'll ignore that the percentage of people at the GULag's height was based on a population a bit more than 1/2 of the current US population.

Yep, the rate of imprisonment is too high. Then again, so is the rate of some forms of criminality.

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Response to Igel (Reply #9)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 03:48 PM

16. What causes the imprisonment rate to be too high is that

the acts which are punishable as crimes are too many. And the length of prison imposed is too long. And the opportunity for parole is too low.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 02:51 PM

13. That should be broken down to violent crimes and non-violent crimes.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 03:20 PM

14. Land of the free, home of the brave

 

It makes me violently sick to think what has become of our country. More people imprisoned than any other country in history, yet all the while corporate media is shrilly screaming at us to be afraid of our own shadows. Parents don't even allow their children to play outside anymore! Families that live less than a dozen blocks from school drive their obese, video game playing, cheeto stuffed children to school because of fear of "crime" and "terrorism".

Fear sells weapons. Fear sells prisons. Fear squelches dissent. Fear equals profits.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 03:30 PM

15. "they're tryin' to build a prison, for you and me to live in..."

K&R

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Response to Soylent Brice (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 04:07 PM

17. Hey, you!!!

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 6, 2012, 10:56 PM

20. hey stranger!

sorry it took me this long to notice you replied.

how ya been!

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Response to Soylent Brice (Reply #20)

Mon Feb 6, 2012, 11:23 PM

21. Really glad to see you here.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 05:13 PM

18. K&R

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 05:13 PM

19. This is in spite of the fact that the violent crime rate is LOWER than in the 1980s

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Mon Feb 6, 2012, 11:58 PM

22. great read n/t

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Tue Feb 7, 2012, 11:31 AM

23. That'a a direct result of corporate supremacy as is promoted by the corporate media.

Last edited Tue Feb 7, 2012, 12:46 PM - Edit history (4)

It's not a cosmic coincidence that virtually all pundit speculation from day 1 of any Presidential Election centers on candidates in the right wing, authoritarian quadrant of the poltical spectrum. Their names are also repeated ad nauseum, this is basically free advertising.

The authoritarian candidates are continually touted as "mainstream," by the corporate media while candidates leaning toward the liberal or libertarian quadrant are labeled as "extremist."

During debates authoritarians are usually placed in the center of the debating group so the cameras can be focused on them more often, while those liberal or libertarian candidates on the edge of the stage disappear from view.

Of course the authoritarian candidate will also recieve an overwhelming majority of questions from the moderators as well.

This long term biassed promotion by the corporate media insures authoritarians are more likely in coming to power and thus our prison population explosion as we descend in to a full blown police state.

Thanks for the thread, dixiegrrrrl.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #23)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 10:05 PM

25. It feels like we are in pretty well developed police state now, but damn, they keep surprising me.


All we can do is "teach your children well" I guess.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #25)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 11:55 AM

26. I'm sure the Germans; felt the same way in the early to mid 30s, their world was changing

before their eyes and no doubt many of them were in shock, some form of denial or in some cases happy about the prospects of having an authoritarian government; which gave them a feeling or sense of strength and power.

There are many programs on television now dedicated to nothing but criminalizing the American People, this one sided demonization lends itself to dampening or eliminating altogether any regard by the public for our world record breaking, exploding prison population or the people behind bars.

In short they all had it coming and if they didn't it was an exception to the rule.

I agree we need to teach our children well, but it's an uphill fight as most parents have to work and the vast majority of the corporate media is intent on promoting corporate supremacist authoritarianism, starting at an early age, whether it be subliminal, materialistic, advertising via commercials or cartoon programming.



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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #26)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 12:29 PM

28. There are many programs on television now dedicated to nothing but criminalizing the American People

I no longer have tv, it has been gone for over a year now, but when we did have it, I had noticed the increasing emphasis on crime stuff, as well as "trash " tv..all those tacky reality shows.
I imagine it has only gotten worse since we ditched the tube.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Thu Feb 9, 2012, 09:46 PM

24. concerning Obamas tough stance on marijuana....

says it all right here....

"leniency in conviction and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws."

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 12:26 PM

27. For profit prisons are only going to make things worse.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 01:02 PM

29. We live in a special kind of police state

that guards the owners of our plutocracy.

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Response to Rex (Reply #29)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 02:10 PM

30. That is nothing new, actually, here.

Back in the 1900's/1920'/30's, private company owners used police to break union strikes.
Some classic examples:
Matewan- West Virginia coal strike, John Sayles made a movie about it.

the Bonus Army in Washington DC, 1932:
Hoover used the military, complete with tanks, to clear out the WW1 veterans who were occupying there as a protest against not getting their promised money.

The Wobblies, in the Pacific NW, from whence Mother Jones and Joe HIll became famous.
In many places where the union tried to organize or protest, they where attacked by local police.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wobblies

Using the police to support autocratic rule is an old old game in the good old US of A, but not much is taught about that in school.

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