Wednesday, March 26, 2008

In the Pursuit of Justice, Do We Need Trials? (Joseph Potter)

Joseph Potter sees the light and realizes that there is no such thing as a "justice" system in this country:

The US is the world’s greatest prison state; of that there can be little debate.

By any method of counting we incarcerate more of our citizens than any other country in the world. Even China has fewer total prisoners than the US, and China’s per capita rate is also much smaller than the US rate. Yes my friends, even China has less criminals in jail than we do. Surprised?
"Statistics released today by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a branch of the US Department of Justice, show that at the end of 2006, more than 2.25 million persons were incarcerated in US prisons and jails, an all-time high. This number represents an incarceration rate of 751 per 100,000 US residents, the highest such rate in the world. By contrast, the United Kingdom’s incarceration rate is 148 per 100,000 residents; the rate in Canada is 107; and in France it is 85. The US rate is also substantially higher than that of Libya (217 per 100,000), Iran (212), and China (119)." (Human Rights Watch)

The question is whether the law is a shield that protects "the people" or a club that is used to beat down them down. If we incarcerate many times as many of our citizens per capita than our European allies, can we find an explanation for this difference? Are we really that much more criminally inclined here in the good old USA than populations abroad that seem to be very similar to us?

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