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Why is the US prison population so high?

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  • Why is the US prison population so high?

    The US prison population is the highest in the world. The incarceration rate is around 7 times higher than Canada, Europe, Australia and even authoritarian countries like China. With few exceptions, almost all US states if they were their own country would top the list when it comes to prison populations. What is the reason for this? There is certainly no shortage of scumbags so I do not believe its because people are getting railroaded. Culture problem maybe?

  • #2
    Uhhh... Criminals getting sentenced..?
    Now go home and get your shine box!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
      Uhhh... Criminals getting sentenced..?
      Criminals getting CAUGHT, CONVICTED and sentenced.

      After working in the Corrections profession for 30 yrs I saw very, VERY few innocent people incarcerated.
      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

      Comment


      • #4
        Poor parenting...

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
          Uhhh... Criminals getting sentenced..?
          Yes, that is true but criminals getting sentenced isn’t a uniquely American thing.

          Comment


          • #6
            Criminals getting released going right back to crime because our liberal culture protects and nourishes them. Thugs being feted. Lack of societal responsibility. Idiots being elected to positions in government and being allowed to change laws with no ramifications...except to the citizens.

            Did you know that only in America are law abiding citizens and those that enforce the laws regarded as criminals?

            Your attempts to prove that racist Whitey is trying to keep the brothers down is an old, tired,cliche.
            Now go home and get your shine box!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
              Uhhh... Criminals getting sentenced..?
              Less bench trials with judges taking cases under submission?
              Last edited by BTDT2; 08-10-2019, 08:01 PM. Reason: Y Not?

              Comment


              • #8
                My law enforcement experience goes back to 1972, and my life experience goes back to 1949. Here is my theory:

                We teach young people that they must follow the rules or there will be consequences. Then, after they have broken the rules, the consequences seldom amount to more than a little lecture followed by hugs and kisses. Our public education system focuses on making sure that each child learns just how special and valuable he is, regardless of conduct or effort. Trophies are handed out for participation, grades are given to build self-esteem, and everyone learns that they are unique and have rights to whatever they need or want.

                We tell young adults that they must obey the law, otherwise they will be arrested and sent to jail. Then, after they have broken the law, they are promptly released and seldom receive more than a judge's lecture followed by a suspended sentence. When placed on probation the terms of release are viewed as little more than "suggestions" with no significant consequences for violations. When actually sentenced to jail or prison time they are seldom required to serve more than 1/3 of the stated sentence, and during that time they have the right to appointed lawyers (at public expense) to challenge everything from their living conditions to the tone of voice addressed to them by corrections officers.

                It is the "criminal justice system", i.e.: justice for the criminal and to hell with the victims and community. We have judges who will not judge, prosecutors who will not prosecute, corrections unable to correct, probation and parole systems not allowed to exercise any meaningful control, and cops who are not permitted to enforce the law.

                Finally, after multiple juvenile violations with no meaningful consequences, and a dozen or more adult crimes with nothing more than ever-longer suspended sentences and probation with little or no oversight, a young person commits a more serious offense and finds himself facing serious lock-down time. At that point all we have is a seriously confused and disillusioned young person, repeatedly taught that no one was really serious about any of this stuff, and terribly angry about finally having to pay the price for his behavior. That anger is likely to carry forward, resulting in an increasing level of criminal activity and violent behavior.

                Solutions?

                1. Every defined criminal act has a specified penalty (fine, imprisonment, etc). Any subsequent (second, third, fourth) offense results in doubling the standard penalty.

                2. Jail time is non-negotiable and cannot be reduced. Every sentence (whether 10 days, 30 days, or 20 years) must be served in full, and every day credited must be based upon a day of good behavior (talk back to a corrections officer, assault another inmate, spit on someone, or any other unacceptable behavior) results in loss of that day's credit. There are a whole bunch of anti-social animals that could not do a 30-day sentence in 10 years or more.

                3. Probation and parole violations should not be treated as separate offenses, with full due process protections. These should be handled on a strict probable cause standard. In addition to facing any new charges the full effect of the prior sentence should be reinstated immediately.

                4. Death penalty for extremely violent or heinous crimes. Upon conviction the trial court should be given 30 days to complete the record and forward it to the appellate court level. Then the appeals court should have 30 days to review and rule on the trial record, then forward the record to the state supreme court, and that august body should have 30 days to rule on the trial and sentencing. Sure, this will require that a bunch of overpaid pompous jackasses start working 40-plus hours per week, but what the heck? Serious business is involved, right? Along about day 120 or so the execution should be conducted publicly, and all public school kids over about 12 years old should be required to watch and see what happens to those who step over the REALLY BIG LINES in the law.

                Stop babying the little crooks and fewer will grow up to be the big crooks. Stop making excuses for recidivist anti-social predatory animals and start holding them accountable in full, each and every time.

                I'll stop now and wait for someone to tell me how wrong I am.

                Comment


                • Aidokea
                  Aidokea commented
                  Editing a comment
                  If you're running for office, you've got my vote...

                • threeofnine
                  threeofnine commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That makes perfect sense. I have to say, I think that’s the best explanation I’ve ever heard.

              • #9
                From my observation as a CO, the number of inmates I met who did not deserve to be in jail was probably only about 1 or 2%. The vast majority of people who end up in jail get there by very intentional actions. You don't deal drugs by mistake; nobody slips on a banana peel and accidentally breaks into a house as they're falling. Most of those people were given a second chance. The vast, VAST majority of inmates I worked with were there on probation violations, usually multiple violations, meaning that they had been given second chances and blew those. Sometimes it was because they went right back to doing what got them locked up. Often times it was something else, like a DUI, ****ing hot, or getting into a fight.

                My point is, a lot of people make our large prison population out to be largely made up of political prisoners, people who were framed or committed honest mistakes, or people who committed crimes because they had no other choice; basically, they stole bread to feed their starving family. It's simply not the case. Most criminals have no intention of doing the right thing. They are selfish, have no conscience, and absolutely no regard for anyone else's rights. In fact, many I talked to found it stupid that people DIDN'T choose to be criminals. It was a logical choice in their eyes, and it was unfair there were laws telling them that they couldn't do what they wanted to do. So the fact is, that most criminals are just unfit to live in society because they choose not to follow the laws and have no intention of changing; there is no correcting their behavior. However, they are great manipulators and liars, and they can fake being genuinely remorseful and act like they've reformed themselves. So, they often get a second chance...only to commit another crime and end up back in jail, usually pretty quickly.

                However, on the other side of that, there is a decent sized population of frequent flyers to the jail who can potentially be reformed (at least from my observation). Their issue is a lack of guidance in decision making. They listen to the wrong people and they follow the wrong crowds. They don't know how to take responsibility for their actions, and they simply don't know any other life. Too often, probation and parole has too little of an understanding or a care for actually guiding these guys onto the right path. There is not enough differentiation between the hopeless sociopaths and the lost but redeemable. The thing with probation or parole is that it can be extremely easy to violate one's terms, even accidentally. It always annoyed me to run into cases where guys were sent back to jail over honest mistakes because his PO was so hard nosed. It made my job harder, and it didn't do anything to help guide the inmate out of the criminal life.

                So we have a lot of people who should never be let out of jail who are constantly getting sweetheart deals from the judge. And we have a bunch of guys who just can't get out of their own way, and those who are supposed to help them offer very little help.
                "If the police have to come get you, they're bringing an @$$ kicking with them!"
                -Chris Rock

                Comment


                • Iowa #1603
                  Iowa #1603 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I am not going to disagree with most of what you are saying.

                  My experience with Probation / Parole is that they try the best they can. Agents in my area often have 200 plus caseloads with varying levels of supervision needed .

                  In Iowa a parolee really has to WORK to be violated & by the time the PO is ready to violate them....they normally NEED to be back in prison

                  NO amount of reform is going to work for the vast majority of inmates until THEY want to "reform" Most of the frequent flyers have no reason / want to change their spots

                • GangGreen712
                  GangGreen712 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  No disagreement. POs are overloaded, and most of the ones I met were good, squared away people. And most of the guys I saw get violated needed to be, and most shouldn't have been out in the first place. But there were quite a few issues at my county's parole office, and too many of the officers there were barely putting in the old college try with a lot of guys and would violate them over the slightest thing just to get them off their backs. A couple of the inmates who went through this I felt bad for, and I think needed a bit more understanding and time. But the truth is, most of the guys who did get hit for something minor were guys who I knew to be pains in the a** when I dealt with them at the jail. Hard to feel bad for them even when I felt their PO may have been a little harsh.

                  And I totally agree that the vast majority of frequent fliers have no intention of changing. There are a decent amount of guys I've come across who finally wake up and figure things out, but most don't.
                  Last edited by GangGreen712; 08-11-2019, 05:06 PM.

                • Iowa #1603
                  Iowa #1603 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Gang
                  I had a guy who came into the system nearly the same day I started in 1976...............on a 20 yr sentence that he SHOULD have knocked out in about 9 yrs at the most.
                  He followed me around the system and FINALLY got out of prison JUST about the same time I retired in 2010. That 20 yr sentence was extended, paroled, etc and he finally decided he was going to come out clean
                  I ran into him a couple years ago and while he has spent some time in the local jail he has stayed out of prison for almost 9 yrs..............When he saw me he called me by name and was telling me how proud he was to be semi clean

                • GangGreen712
                  GangGreen712 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Good for him. At least he's trying. Obviously you were an influence on him. That's what I try to be.

                  When I first started working at the jail, there was this one guy who had been in and out for way longer than I had been there. It took him many years before he wanted to change, a few more to not fall back into old habits. He admitted many times that he now knew he had no excuse and the only one who put him in jail was himself. He got out a few years ago and so far has stayed true to his word according to people who know him.

              • #10
                It's not high enough, too many criminals are walking the street. If we executed the murderer's rapist robbers and sodomites maybe the prisons would not be as full.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Originally posted by Punisher1336 View Post
                  It's not high enough, too many criminals are walking the street. If we executed the murderer's rapist robbers and sodomites maybe the prisons would not be as full.
                  Good point. For every one locked up in prison there are a dozen more on the street serving probation or parole. Probation and parole officers frequently have hundreds of cases assigned, so the degree of supervision each offender receives is usually minimal and sporadic.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                    Criminals getting released going right back to crime because our liberal culture protects and nourishes them. Thugs being feted. Lack of societal responsibility. Idiots being elected to positions in government and being allowed to change laws with no ramifications...except to the citizens.

                    Did you know that only in America are law abiding citizens and those that enforce the laws regarded as criminals?

                    Your attempts to prove that racist Whitey is trying to keep the brothers down is an old, tired,cliche.
                    I think you read me wrong. I never said anything about “racist whitey” or anything even close to that. If you reread my post you’ll see I said there is no shortage of scumbags so I DONT believe people are getting railroaded. Also, I am white myself, very conservative and a strong supporter of Law Enforcement.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      I agree with Retired. We, as a society, do not take crime seriously.

                      Around 18 years ago I spent time in Cuba for some criminal justice meetings. They have relatively little crime. While there I was fortunate to be allowed to attend one of their criminal trials.

                      The accused was a parking lot attendant who worked the graveyard shift at a tourist hotel. Personally owned vehicles are scarce in Cuba, and after a tourist left his rental car and keys for the night, the attendant called his girlfriend and said he was going to "borrow" the tourist's car take her for a a brief ride. Given their economic circumstances, this was a big thrill.

                      Enroute to pick up his girlfriend, the parking lot attendant got into a crash with the tourist's car and was caught.

                      In California, this would be joyriding. As a first offense (as it was for this kid) he would have gotten unsupervised probation and that would have been the end of it. However, this was Cuba. The sentence for a first offense was normally 4 years in prison, however, because he was only 19, he was eligible for half that - 2 years, to be served in a reeducation camp. No wonder Cuba has little crime.

                      They have other laws as well. The one that caught my eye was la ley de peligroisadad or the law of dangerousness. It basically said that if a person demonstrated a "proclivity to be dangerous" they could be locked away for three years. One of our meetings was with their Supreme Court Justices and this law came up. They explained it as being akin to our three strikes laws, citing drunkenness as an example. If someone is found intoxicated in public three times in their community, they can be declared as dangerous and sent away for three years. I wonder how that would work on our skid row communities here in the US?



                      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                        I agree with Retired. We, as a society, do not take crime seriously.

                        Around 18 years ago I spent time in Cuba for some criminal justice meetings. They have relatively little crime. While there I was fortunate to be allowed to attend one of their criminal trials.

                        The accused was a parking lot attendant who worked the graveyard shift at a tourist hotel. Personally owned vehicles are scarce in Cuba, and after a tourist left his rental car and keys for the night, the attendant called his girlfriend and said he was going to "borrow" the tourist's car take her for a a brief ride. Given their economic circumstances, this was a big thrill.

                        Enroute to pick up his girlfriend, the parking lot attendant got into a crash with the tourist's car and was caught.

                        In California, this would be joyriding. As a first offense (as it was for this kid) he would have gotten unsupervised probation and that would have been the end of it. However, this was Cuba. The sentence for a first offense was normally 4 years in prison, however, because he was only 19, he was eligible for half that - 2 years, to be served in a reeducation camp. No wonder Cuba has little crime.

                        They have other laws as well. The one that caught my eye was la ley de peligroisadad or the law of dangerousness. It basically said that if a person demonstrated a "proclivity to be dangerous" they could be locked away for three years. One of our meetings was with their Supreme Court Justices and this law came up. They explained it as being akin to our three strikes laws, citing drunkenness as an example. If someone is found intoxicated in public three times in their community, they can be declared as dangerous and sent away for three years. I wonder how that would work on our skid row communities here in the US?



                        Wow, I wish our criminal justice system was more like Cuba's.

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by threeofnine View Post
                          The US prison population is the highest in the world. The incarceration rate is around 7 times higher than Canada, Europe, Australia and even authoritarian countries like China. With few exceptions, almost all US states if they were their own country would top the list when it comes to prison populations. What is the reason for this? There is certainly no shortage of scumbags so I do not believe its because people are getting railroaded. Culture problem maybe?
                          It's not high enough, more people need to be in prison. Lots of scumbags walking around.

                          Comment

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