Monday, July 26, 2004

US gulag grows

Jeralyn at Talk Left is blogging at the DNC this week but she's still the first to point us to this story on prison population growth in the US. The Department of Justice has released a new report and it confirms that 6.9 million Americans, (that's 3.2% of our entire population) are either incarcerated or under the control of the prison system via probation and parole.

The numbers keep growing but the crime has not proportionally increased which leads to the conclusion that this is a residual effect of the war on some drugs. All those non-violent substance consumers sentenced to irrationally long confinements during the "tough on crime" 90s have filled the industrial prison system to bursting and are unable to be released under mandatory sentencing. Meanwhile violent criminals, who were are not subject to these same restrictions are being released early because the states simply cannot afford to keep them in jail.

This is no way to run a penal system and certainly does not contribute to the public safety. Prisons and sentencing laws are an issue ripe for reform and one that could generate some badly enthusiam for the Democratic ticket should they choose to address it. However, Jeralyn reports that she has scruntinized the copy of the Democratic Platform she was given yesterday and what does it say about these policies that is bankrupting the states and shredding the fabric of society. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

It's time for the Dems to wake up and smell the iron bars. With due respect to the victims of 9/11, it's time to pay some attention to the millions of victims who are suffering right now under our own government's ill-advised policies.


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