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What percentage of the U.S. population are criminals?

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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:27 PM
Original message
What percentage of the U.S. population are criminals?
I'm talking about people who regularly commit offenses for which they could be jailed, or have done so in the past.

We keep hearing about the 12 million "illegals," that's 4%.

The seven million under supervision (prison, parole, probation) are another 2%.

I'll just throw out an estimate that 20% of the population either uses illegal drugs, abuses prescription drugs, or regularly drives drunk.

The people who commit other crimes but haven't been caught? I have no idea. I think it would be a very generous estimate of law enforcement that they capture and manage to convict half of all non-drug criminals. The other half would be about six and half million, another 2%.

Total: 28%.

What's wrong with a society that sees a quarter or more of its members as criminals?
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mrcheerful Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
1. All you need to do is count the number of poor in america and you have
the number of criminals. Just ask any republican business man or politican.
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:33 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. They see the poor as getting away with something
However, I wonder if they harbor any illusions as to their own criminality.
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Lost4words Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:34 PM
Response to Original message
3. The politician part! n/t
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. That's a given! nt
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rubberducky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
5. Desperate people do desperate things.
Given the financial situation and job situation in this country right now I think that things will get worse before we level out.
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. But also it seems like the laws
are increasingly out of synch with the culture. Whichever way you look at it, it's not a good sign. There's no way to mete justice or "justice" out to all whom the law regards as criminals. Unless, of course, we become a military dictatorship...
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High Plains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:38 PM
Response to Original message
7. Mass criminalization is a JOBS PROGRAM
...for local police, state police, FBI, DEA, BATF, US Marshals' Service, prosecutors, judges, prison guards, prison contractors, prison builders.

That's quite an array of special interest groups.

The US leads the world in people behind bars, in real numbers and per capita. WE'RE #1!!!!
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. And since Santa Monica now regards its jail
as part of the "homeless services network," we can count it as part of the welfare system too.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
8. 99.999999%
A much smaller percentage gets caught.
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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
9. Here's some interesting stats...
http://stopviolence.com/cj-knowledge.htm
What Every American Should Know About the Criminal Justice System
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
How to manipulate crime rates: Politicians manipulate crime rate statistics by choosing their measures and choosing their years. Sometimes to justify larger budgets and more money, police or politicians need to show there's a 'crime problem,' and want to present high numbers for crime. At other times, they need to demonstrate that their policies are effective at reducing crime, so they want to present lower numbers.

If you want to show that crime went up, use the UCR because the improvements in record keeping make it look like crime increased through to about 1990. If you want to show really huge increases, use 1960 as a baseline year because the baby boomers were still babies and police record keeping was incomplete.

If you want to make it look like crime went down, use a relatively high crime year like 1980 or 1990 and compare it to a relatively low crime year. Or put a crime like burglary into the trend, because it consistently decreased through the 1980s.

FAQ on UCR from FBI.gov. Main UCR page. William Chambliss' book Power, Politics and Crime (2000) offers a very critical look at the manipulation of crime rate statistics.

# The number of people locked up has quadrupled since 1980. There are 2 million people in prisons and jails nationwide. An additional 4.7 million people are on probation or parole. (See Dept of Justice 'Corrections' page for details)
# There are 11.5 million admissions to prison or jail annually. (FBI). Every year, more people are arrested than the entire combined populations of our 13 least populous states.
# America incarcerates five times as many people per capita as Canada and 7 times as many as most European democracies; the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, indicating we are not 'soft on crime.' (See World Prison Brief, International Centre for Prison Studies, Kings College, London)
# America spends approximately 200 billion dollars a year on the criminal justice system, up from 12 billion in 1972. (Dept of Justice Current CJ Expenditures). Please keep in mind these underestimate the full cost of CJ because some costs like prison construction are counted as capital expenditures under a different budget from CJ.
# With 2.2 million people engaged in catching criminals and putting and keeping them behind bars, "corrections" has become one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy, employing more people than the combined workforces of General Motors, Ford and Wal-Mart, the three biggest corporate employers in the country.
------------------
* America's overall crime rates are similar to comparable nations. For the crime of assault, 2.2% of Americans are victimized each year, compared to 2.3% of Canadians and 2.8% of Australians. For car theft, the U.S. rate is 2.3%, Australia is at 2.7% and England is at 2.8%.
* America is extraordinary only in its rate of homicide with guns - lethal violence. American gun homicide rates run twenty times the rate in comparable nations- causing Americans to live in fear that their counterparts in England and France do not share.
http://stopviolence.com/cj-knowledge.htm

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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Interesting site.
Very interesting that the size of the police state and the military are close to equal.
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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. I recently compiled some stuff...
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Great compilation
Nothing new to me but unfamiliar to so many.

I guess this whole immigration debate got me thinking about how big of gaps there are between the laws on the books, the enforcement of the laws, and what people actually think is and isn't okay. Huge, huge population living in those gaps now.
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rubberducky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:55 PM
Response to Original message
12. Many of our laws need to be updated.
Personally, I would rather see non-violent "criminals" Not be incarcerated. I would rather see them doing community service. The type of community service being tied to each person`s capabilities. Just my opinion.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 08:56 PM
Response to Original message
13. all the republicans for starters
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
16. .
One kick for fresh eyes
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 09:31 PM
Response to Original message
17. One more kick
See if anyone cares...
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 09:53 PM
Response to Original message
18. It's fallacious to merely add such percentages to derive some specious result.
Clearly, the people who've been incarcerated are INCLUDED in other rates, so that one can be thrown out. Unless you have some bizarre belief that the population of 'illegal aliens' don't do illicit drugs and the people who do illicit drugs are not illegal aliens, the percentages can't merely be added together. I would surmise (reasonably, I think) that illegal behavior is clustered - that there's a somewhat higher tendency that an individual who breaks one law will also break another.

That said ...

I have said for a long time that we jeopardize our freedoms and invite a "police state" when we criminalize behavior that large pluralities engage in. (This, I believe, was the root problem with Prohibition.) When there are more law-breakers than any reasonably-sized law enforcement system can deal with, then people in law enforcement can pick and choose when, where, and against whom they enforce the law. The higher the imbalance, the closer we get to police state conditions.

People seem all-too-willing to criminalize behavior ... from smoking to pot and from going over 55 mph on a clear and nearly vacant highway to stopping too long at an airport passenger drop off. But we don't seem to be anywhere nearly as willing to pay for the uniform enforcement of those laws - which leaves our prison system overpopulated with minorities.

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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 11:05 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Sure, there's overlap.
That's why I deliberately underestimated each figure. I don't even know where this "12 million" number came from in the first place. Not the Census, certainly.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 11:23 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. April 26, 2006: Est. of the Unauthorized Migrant Population for States based on the March 2005 CPS
Estimates of the Unauthorized Migrant Population for States based on the March 2005 CPS
(In thousands)

U.S. total 11,100 (10,700–11,500)
California 2,500–2,750
Texas 1,400–1,600
Florida 800–950
New York 550–650
Arizona 400–450
Illinois 375–425
Georgia 350–450
New Jersey 350–425
North Carolina 300–400
Virginia 250–300
Maryland 225–275
Colorado 225–275
Washington 200–250
Massachusetts 150–250
Nevada 150–200
Pennsylvania 125–175
Oregon 125–175
Tennessee 100–150
Michigan 100–150
Ohio 75–150
Wisconsin 75–115
Minnesota 75–100
Utah 75–100
Connecticut 70–100
Indiana 55–85
Iowa 55–85
Oklahoma 50–75
New Mexico 50–75
Kansas 40–70
South Carolina 35–75
Missouri 35–65
Nebraska 35–55
Kentucky 30–60
Alabama 30–50
Mississippi 30–50
Arkansas 30–50
Louisiana 25–45
Idaho 25–45
Rhode Island 20–40
Hawaii 20–35
Delaware 15–35
District of Columbia 15–30
New Hampshire 10–30
Alaska <10
Wyoming <10
South Dakota <10
Maine <10
Vermont <10
North Dakota <10
Montana <10
West Virginia <10

Fact Sheet: Estimates of the Unauthorized Migrant Population for the States

The estimates reported here for the number of unauthorized migrants* living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia are based on a well-established methodology applied to data from the March 2005 Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS, a monthly survey of about 50,000 households conducted jointly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, is best known as the source for monthly unemployment statistics. Every March both the sample size and the questionnaire of the CPS are augmented to produce the Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which provides additional data on several additional subjects, including the foreign-born population.

As previously reported, the Center’s analysis of the March 2005 CPS shows that there were an estimated 11.1 million unauthorized migrants in the United States a year ago. Based on analysis of other data sources that offer indications of the pace of growth in the foreign-born population, the Center developed an estimate of 11.5 to 12 million for the unauthorized population as of March 2006. A full report on the estimates including a description of the methodology can be found in: Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the U.S.: Estimates Based on the March 2005 Current Population Survey (http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=61 )

The March CPS supplement in any given year does not provide enough data to provide a precise point estimate of the size of the unauthorized population in all states. Variability in the survey sample precludes precise year-to-year comparisons for some sub-populations. Therefore, the estimates by state are presented here as a range. While based primarily on the March 2005 CPS, the estimates developed out of an analysis of CPS-based estimates for 2000 to 2005 and Census-based estimates for 2000. The analysis included both an examination of trends across the estimates for all six years and averaging of results in two- and three-year increments to reduce the effects of sample variability.

In addition to the reports noted above, the Center has produced two other fact sheets regarding unauthorized migrants based on the analysis of the March 2005 CPS:
The Labor Force Status of Short Term Unauthorized Workers
( http://pewhispanic.org/files/factsheets/16.pdf )
Recently Arrived Migrants and the Congressional Debate on Immigration
( http://pewhispanic.org/files/factsheets/15.pdf )

http://pewhispanic.org/factsheets/factsheet.php?Factshe...
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