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US prison population has quadrupled since 1980 from 500k to 2.3 million

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Holy Diver, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Holy Diver

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  2. khayos

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    Pretty sure that's when crack started going bigtime...
  3. Leave No Doubt

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    There's also a racial divide:
    Cocaine is what happened in the 80's. It morphed into crack just so everybody could afford it, no poor black person left behind and all that. To combat all this we needed a War On Drugs.

    And we've been in the Incarceration Record Books ever since.
  4. wistahpatsfan

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    Leme guess.Ronald Reagan's Failed War on Drugs (...and cocaine is crack, just in the hands of a poor person). Of course. along with that came sentencing guidelines with mandatory sentence minimums and the "three strikes and out" garbage.

    Along with all this was the explosion of the security and prison industries and private prison management. The incentives to make money on the inprisonment of poor Americans is too good to end. Crime also gives politicians (especially elected judges) something to run on when they're not busy baeting on gays, Mexicans, and poor people.

    Bad boys, bad boys...Whatcha gonna do...

    [​IMG]
  5. The Brandon Five

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    The war on drugs is a disaster on almost every level. Mexico has a civil war on its hands thanks to the illegal drug trade.
  6. Real World

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    I've always been on the legalize, regulate, and tax drugs side of the issue. I voted YES on the ballot question last year, that made possesion of a joint only a finable offense. I think revisiting the issue on a national level would be wise.

    One thing to consider is that the figure is a total, whereas a percentage would be more relative. There are 70-80 million more people in the country now, than there were 30 years ago. That point wouldn't come close to explaining the vast increase though. I'd like to go over the study's findings to see what the rate of acceleration was, and what it is attributable to.
  7. Real World

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    Some interesting stuff inside that study's PDF.


    From the no **** sherlock page of the study.

  8. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    That could be valid, if we knew for certain that many of those currently incarcerated are being held on drug charges. But we don't, do we? It would seem reasonable to me that the number is, while not insignificant, also not the entire problem. For one thing, first offenses, and personal use offenses, don't usually end up with anything other than a fine and probation. Most people don't even end up serving half of their actual sentence even when they DO get jail time.

    It's a very interesting story/poll but it's in a vacuum. We have no idea of what people are getting arrested for or why the numbers have climbed so high.

    It's especially interesting in light of the fact that crime statistics are down all over the USA.

    Maybe because everyone's in jail already?

    If that's the correlation, do we really want to change things?
  9. Real World

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    It's an interesting study, but it more or less deals with the economic implications of the incarcerated, versus the non. It doesn't really explain why the incarceration rates have increased so much.
  10. Real World

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    I completely agree with you, as I mentioned something similar just now in a post I made. We know the total number has skyrocketed since 1980, but we don't really know why. I went through the study, and it doesn't really get into that question. It basically explains what those rates are racially, and educationally, while then explaining the the earnings disaparity of those incarcerated, versus those not. I know a lot of people in jail, are repeat offenders too. How many of those in jail fall under that characteristic? There are lots of questions here, that aren't answered by the study.
  11. WhiteWesWelker88

    WhiteWesWelker88 Banned

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    lets hand out more death penalties




    all for the firing squad!!!


    aye
  12. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    I agree. It's intriguing, isn't it? I keep thinking if we had more information and more answers it might be possible to find a cure, so to speak.

    I'm sure that if people make less money, which they are saying about released criminals, there's a higher incidence of repeated crime, especially if the crime was theft in the first place, because desperation, needing to feed your family, etc., are probably good indicators that someone's going to feel the need to resort to stealing again.

    I don't know how many places of employment are willing to hire ex-cons. I imagine not many - and with the current recession/state of economics it's got to be even less. People who might have been desperate enough to take a chance on someone with a record are certainly not going to be that desperate right now - too many other, less risky, people looking for work.

    I'm just so puzzled by the studies which show crime is down all over The USA and this one. If crime is down - why are there more people in jail? Or, like I asked earlier, is that the reason crime is down?

    Are the same number of people being arrested, but due to better diligence on the part of the police department and the District Attorney's office as well as better indicators of guilt (faster fingerprint checks, national registeries for Sex Offenders, better cooperation between agencies, DNA, genetic markers, etc.,) causing less people to be arrested but more people to be convicted?

    I wish there were some way to know, yanno?
  13. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    RW - there's some good stuff here if you're interested:

    Prisons, Jails & Probation - Overview | Drug War Facts


    (2005) State prisons held a total of 1,296,700 inmates on all charges at yearend 2005. In absolute numbers an estimated 687,700 inmates in State prison at yearend 2005 (the latest year for which offense data is available) were held for violent offenses: 166,700 for murder, 177,900 for robbery, 129,200 for assault, and 164,600 for rape and other sexual assaults. In addition, 248,900 inmates were held for property offenses, 253,300 for drug offenses, and 98,700 for public-order offenses.

    (prison and crime rates) "While it may seem obvious that locking up more people would lower the crime rate, the reality is much more complicated. Sentencing and release policies, not crime rates, determine the numbers of persons in prison. This point is illustrated by examining what happened to incarceration rates and crime rates nationally in the period from 1991-1998. ... The three largest states offer useful examples: Texas experienced a 144% increase in incarceration with a 35% drop in crime rates, and California had a 44% rise in its incarceration rate with a 36% drop in crime rates. In contrast, New York saw its incarceration rate increase by only 24%, yet nonetheless experienced a drop in crime rates of 43%."
  14. patsfan13

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    To understand you need to look at demographics, young men >25 are responsible for a lot of crime. so let's go back to 1955-1965 when those young men were born, what changed? The welfare state/great society with the explosion of children raised in 1 parent homes without any father present.

    Many studies have shown that young males raised without a father in the home are at a huge disadvantage in terms of lower educational performance and more likelyhood of getting into crime.
  15. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    Got statistics for that, 13?

    Coz I think you're wrong. I had a child outside of wedlock in 1972 - and trust me, it was unusual back then. Very unusual. Strange enough that they tried to take my son away before I could see him and give him to a "good family," while I was still in the hospital.

    Single motherhood was fairly unacceptable until the early 80's and later.

    Where are all those fathers, anyhow?

    Go tell it to Bill Clinton, George Washington, Bill Cosby, Charles Darwin, Barack Obama, millions of other successful 1-parent children and my own kids.
  16. patsfan13

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    Were you a black person living in the black community?


    Facts on Fatherless Kids

    FATHERS.COM - The Consequences of Fatherlessness

    Juvenile Delinquency - Family Structure - Single Parent, Poverty, Theory, Development, Children, Homes, Parents, Broken, Parent, and Boys

    Experiments in Living: The Fatherless Family

    An Analysis of Out-Of-Wedlock Births in the United States - Brookings Institution

    National Review: Out Of Wedlock : NPR

    Fatherless boys are much more likely to have a bad outcome. To get welfare the father had to be absent, the rate of out of wedlock went up dramatically. Women going on welfare exiled the father from the home, bad outcomes for black kids followed.
  17. Real World

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    If you look at the pdf of the study, the rates for those in the younger bracket (18-30 maybe? I can't remember), who are high school drop outs I think, is alarmingly higher than the everyone else. I tried to post that chart, but but couldn't. Maybe tomorrow I'll host it and post it.
  18. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    Your own cited article (the only one which was about the USA and contained actual numbers, statistics and facts, anyhow) denies everything you're saying here, 13.

    One argument that appeals to conservatives is that of Charles Murray, who attributes the increase to overly generous federal welfare benefits. But as David Ellwood and Lawrence Summers have shown, welfare benefits could not have played a major role in the rise of out-of-wedlock births because benefits rose sharply in the 1960s and then fell in the 1970s and 1980s, when out-of-wedlock births rose most. A study by Robert Moffitt in 1992 also found that welfare benefits can account for only a small fraction of the rise in the out-of-wedlock birth ratio.
  19. patsfan13

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    Homes without father was heavily impacted by welfare.
  20. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    Yeah, I saw that. A thread about it would be good if you'd care to start one, I think.

    I've been semi-watching the MSNBC study on education - it's pretty interesting. Lots of good questions, very few good answers. One of the things I recall them talking about was some school program which only offers college prep. classes - and I remember thinking that could be a bad thing, too. Some kids are just not college material - for whatever reason. If the high schools do away with classes like shop and mechanics and things like that, what happens to them? Are they going to stay long enough to finish if it's all this huge struggle for them academically and they're only interested in working with their hands, anyway? I understand the concept - expect much, get much, but sometimes you can expect too much and get nothing.
  22. patsfan13

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    It's moot, 13. The dramatic rise in single parent homes did not start until the early and mid 80s - by which time welfare benefits were well on their way to their current level of lowness.

    And yes, Patrick Monyihan did do alot of work on welfare - most of it proven wrong by the success of the 1996 welfare changes which he decreed would have children sleeping on grates if this becomes law.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  24. IcyPatriot

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    #87 Jersey

    I have some apartment experience from my younger days. In the 70's and onward there was a boom in section 8 housing to single mothers. Section 8 started in the 70's. it was started with the best of intents.

    But what I witnessed and others witnessed was anything but the best intents. Girls were getting pregnant at younger ages to get out on their own or out of sheer stupidity ... take your pick.

    For men whose morals did not extend beyond their penis this program was golden. The woman had her basic needs housing, utilities, WIC for the kid, food stamps but it left little to nothing to live a rather normal existence.

    Enter that semblance of a man who wanted a place to live in for free, a place to live where nobody (child support, warrants ... etc) would know where he lived. the woman could not marry the guy or she would lose the assistance and the guy had what he wanted.

    the result of that would be another kid or two or three as that woman went from man to man or maybe the same man who saw food stamps and WIC and welfare increase based on the kids. Now if he was a drug dealer or worked on the side they would also have another income.

    the ERA of the SUGAR DADDY for Section 8 women was upon us.

    The woman needed section 8, the man needed a free crib ... the woman needed a sugar daddy.

    you know the rest of the story.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  25. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    But that would make them a 2 parent family, would it not? I mean, if you're saying that the fathers lived with the mothers - that makes them a 2 parent family, doesn't it?

    13 isn't saying that receiving welfare is a root cause of children getting in trouble, he's saying a one parent household is the root of it.
  26. IcyPatriot

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    #87 Jersey


    I was adding to the thread of what I personally witnessed in that era. Sure ... some of those kids basically had 2 parents ... just not married. But, there were many, many kids born to single moms at that time. Kids born to single moms who were getting educated on the streets. I think this is part of the story ... just part.

    Law enforcement is better with improved databases and electronics i would guess as another factor.

    How about mandatory minimum sentencing?

    Also ... some like it in there ... i have known a few myself ... they say the food is edible and it's free rent.

    There's a lot of points to be made in this thread. Like some here say and i agree ... education, education, education ... no money spent on education is ever enough. So how about cuts in education ... maybe they play a part also. Throw in lousy schools to that .... this thread could end up having volumes and chapters.
  27. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    Oh, I definitely agree with just about everything you've said. And yes, it could surely have volumes and chapters.

    In the earlier link I provided there is a section breaking down the cost of a 4year education vs the cost of a 4 year incarceration. It's like half a cheap!!!

    Maybe we could require all incarcerated prisoners to A) Get their GED and B) get, at the very least, an Associates Degree in something they're interested it. Don't make it a choice - make it a condition of parole.

    Of course, it would be twice as expensive in the beginning - but if it cut down on recidivism the money would end up being replaced. Plus, I think that everyone needs to feel good about themselves to be good or to do good. How good can you feel about yourself when you don't know anything? Sometimes people act stupid to impress other people - if you teach them how to be smart, they don't have to act stupid, they can impress people in other ways. Plus,if you think you're worth something you're less likely to throw yourself away, or to risk throwing yourself away.

    Just rambling....it's all so interesting.
  28. IcyPatriot

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    #87 Jersey



    Also ... made in America ... a good study might be surge in prison population in correlation to the decline in manufacturing in the USA.
    Still i do not understand why our government is not proactive in helping manufacturing in this country compete with other countries. Many of the drug infested cities i see such as Worcester, Lawrence, Fall River, New Bedford Massachusetts to name a few used to have huge manufacturing capabilities ... now in the inner city they are a haven for drugs and gangs. Not the entire cities ... usually the very neighborhoods surrounding the closed plants.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  29. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    Yes, it's the same where I come from. Gary, Indiana, Ford Heights, Il. Hammond, In. East Chicago....all the auto plants and the steel mills are shut down and everything around them has fallen into disrepair and despair. These were always "tough" neighborhoods, but they were solid. The men worked, the women stayed home and looked after the kids. Times were never easy but they made it work and they held body and soul together. Now, there's nothing. Gutted buildings, crack dealers, hookers, bars, strip clubs and everything in between is boarded up, burnt out or behind barred windows. Unfortunately, the children still live there because their parents have no where else to go.
  30. IcyPatriot

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    #87 Jersey


    .... and that sentence could have well started the thread.

    All good points.

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