The United States has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. The American prison system incarcerates a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid. The total number of people imprisoned in the U.S. is a staggering 2.4 million — a 500% increase over the past 30 years.
In 2010 America spent $80 billion on incarceration. The organization, “The Price of Prisons,” stated that the cost of incarcerating one inmate in Fiscal 2010 was $31,307 per year. “In states like Connecticut, Washington state, New York, it’s anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000,” he said. It would seem that this money would be better spent to send non-violent offenders to college where they could finish their “sentence” and be respectable members of society, rather than imprisoning them in our nations prisons where when they leave they are criminals, and they are looked down upon by society at large. Furthermore we are imprisoning the majority of these people for drug offenses, and we incarcerate them in our prisons where they are demoralized, raped, and are taught how to be criminals. There is no shortage of drugs in the American prison system so one would wonder about imprisoning someone for a drug offense in a place where drugs are readily available.
The prisons of this country have become a corporate “for profit” industry. From the cost of telephone calls to the horrible food that they are forced to eat. It is a system that is designed to fail the people that are put into it. We reap the rewards of this everyday in the crime that spreads across the nation. Family’s are torn apart, women and children often pay the price when they have committed no crime, forced into poverty and out of their homes. The way that we deal out justice to our non-violent offenders can only be viewed as an injustice.