na
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US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:34 pm

Please dont read this as Anti-Americanism. I´m not anti-US, I just read a shocking number in a trustworthy and neutral source that I think must be shared.

751 out of 10.000 US citizens are in prison, a figure 9 (!!!) times higher than Germany (82). Almost unbelievable.

According to the reputable "Süddeutsche Zeitung", one of Germany´s leading newspapers, actually no country in the world has imprisoned so many of its citizens (in percentage that is).
This figure shows up in an article about a man who was freed 6 weeks ago after 35 years in prison - proven innocent. The long time didnt break him fortunately. The court didnt apologize to him, the boy who´s wrong accusation brought him to prison did. At least he´ll be getting 50.000 $ for every year he suffered, 1,75 million all in all - his luck is that he´s from Florida.
 
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STT757
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:38 pm

15% of the inmates incarcerated in the State prisons of California are illegal entrants from Mexico, if we emptied the prison systems of the inmates here illegally we would reduce the prison population dramatically.
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PPVRA
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:55 pm

And growing. .

http://www.drugsense.org/wodclock.htm

(scroll down)

edit: note this is only slightly more than one month into the year

[Edited 2010-02-03 13:10:42]
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N1120A
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:01 pm



Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
15% of the inmates incarcerated in the State prisons of California are illegal entrants from Mexico, if we emptied the prison systems of the inmates here illegally we would reduce the prison population dramatically.

California almost certainly has a greater proportion of undocumented inmates than most other states.

You really want to know how to reduce the prison population? Legalize marijuana.
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rwsea
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:07 pm

The US had the most people in prison anywhere in the world. More than China, India, or Russia.

The war on drugs is a big part of this. There are mandatory minimum sentences for many drug-related offenses, giving judges no latitude in sentencing. Some have a misguided notion that this will reduce crime, but in reality I think it makes things worse. There's also three-strikes laws where you get put away for life if you commit three felonies. Puts more people in prison, and additionally, has been shown to increase violence. Under these strict, no flexibility, sentencing laws, there's no additional penalty to say, killing someone in prison or having a shootout with police. Irrational laws like this increase violence.

I think a lot of it has to do with the way of thinking in the US: "if we don't like it, we'll make it illegal and lock people up". As an American living in Holland, I see a big contrast, where Holland typically lets things go if it doesn't hurt anyone. How much money do Americans waste by prosecuting drug laws and jailing offenders? What about other relatively harmless vices such as prostitution?

What will it take to change things? Good question. I think reform of drug laws is a huge and necessary step. I also think that mandatory minimums and three-strikes laws tend to increase violence, and that judges should again have flexibility in sentencing depending on the circumstances. I do worry that as the rift between rich and poor continues to widen, we'll see further increases in crime, so I think you have to look at the social factors influencing crime as well. Finally, I think it's time to do away with private prisons. I don't think it's right to have private companies making money from locking others up. This provides powerful corporate interest in stricter laws that put people in prison.

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Cadet57
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:26 pm



Quoting NA (Thread starter):
US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany  

What's your point? We have a much larger population than you.
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petertenthije
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:32 pm



Quoting Flanker (Reply 6):
And then again the US has quite a bit more people as well.



Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 7):
What's your point? We have a much larger population than you.

He means per 10.000 citizens. He clearly said so in the original post.
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jcs17
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:33 pm

I think part of the reason is that sentences tend to be much longer than in Europe. Take murder for example, in most of Europe, one can be out of prison in 20 years. In most of the US, that's 25 years to life imprisonment (or death). I'd rather have longer prison sentences and have more perps locked up than the opposite.

[Edited 2010-02-03 13:34:06]
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futurepilot16
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:35 pm



Quoting RwSEA (Reply 4):
The war on drugs is a big part of this.

The United States imprisons people for the dumbest things, such as smoking weed. It's so pathetically stupid that I can't even comprehend it. We spend billions to fight the war on drugs, and spend billions more to imprison the so called "criminals" that we catch.

The prison system in the U.S. is nothing more than a business. The more prisons we build, the more construction companies get work, the more fabric companies can make prison jumpsuits, the more correctional officers get hired etc. The more people we put in prison for petty crimes, they go back because they learn more ways to be a criminal in prison rather than how to be rehabilitated. And correctional officers pretend that they care, and they don't. We just recycle the same guys back into the system, and numerous companies make money off it at taxpayers' expense.

I once heard from a friend that the department of corrections was counting the amount of children that are in elementary school now, so that they can figure out how many prisons they will need to build in the future  no , it makes no sense.
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rwsea
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:37 pm



Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 7):

What's your point? We have a much larger population than you.

I guess the point is that you don't understand what fractions or percentages are...
 
Cadet57
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:39 pm



Quoting Petertenthije (Reply 10):
He means per 10.000 citizens. He clearly said so in the original post.

Thanks for telling me what I already knew. I mean what is the point of this whole thread? So we have more people in prison. So what. At least in this country (for the most part) if you commit a crime, and you're caught you're put in prison where you belong.
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A346Dude
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:48 pm



Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 14):
Thanks for telling me what I already knew. I mean what is the point of this whole thread? So we have more people in prison. So what. At least in this country (for the most part) if you commit a crime, and you're caught you're put in prison where you belong.

 banghead 

Not just more people in prison. Nine times more people in prison, per capita. And you're willing to just shrug that off?
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desertjets
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:56 pm



Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 14):
Thanks for telling me what I already knew. I mean what is the point of this whole thread? So we have more people in prison. So what. At least in this country (for the most part) if you commit a crime, and you're caught you're put in prison where you belong.

Because it is under the false guise of being hard on crime that makes politicians look good. Policies like three strikes have frankly been disastrous as more and more of the population is incarcerated. We are literally wasting billions upon billions of dollars warehousing people. People that could have been otherwise productive members of society. Go look at what your state spends on corrections. Then look at what they spend on primary and secondary education, higher education, transportation, health care, etc..... If those dollars could be used elsewhere imagine what could be possible.

This doesn't mean I believe that people who commit crimes should not face consequences for what they do. But you have to look at what we do and do not criminalize in this country and what penalties are attached. Further we need to understand what impact mandatory minimum sentences and repeat offender laws have.
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rwsea
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:58 pm



Quoting A346Dude (Reply 15):
Not just more people in prison. Nine times more people in prison, per capita. And you're willing to just shrug that off?

This is how Bill O'Reilly does math also ... at first come up with some excuse like, "oh, it's a much bigger country". Then, when that doesn't work, the second step is to say that "well, they do statistics differently there"...

Just keep that head in the sand ...
 
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Jetsgo
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:00 pm

Perhaps if we had a more secure border and actually enforced immigation laws already in place, this number would go down.
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Jetsgo
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:02 pm



Quoting DesertJets (Reply 16):
People that could have been otherwise productive members of society.

I'm sorry, but once you have commited three felonies, you have proven to society that you are NOT capable of being productive. Three strikes, while expensive, makes sense.
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rwsea
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:04 pm



Quoting JetsGo (Reply 18):
Perhaps if we had a more secure border and actually enforced immigation laws already in place, this number would go down.

Right, blame it all on others. No point in looking at the underlying societal issues. Ignore the difference between rich and poor, which is usually a big indicator of crime (look at crime stats for Brazil and South Africa if you don't believe me). Ignore the impact of mandatory minimum sentencing. Ignore the many things that are illegal in the US that are legal in other countries. Ignore America's culture of glorifying violence.

It's really just the illegal immigrants! Man, if we could get rid of them, just think ... no crime, government not bankrupt; just a paradise of rainbows and unicorns!  
 
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Jetsgo
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:07 pm



Quoting RwSEA (Reply 20):
Right, blame it all on others.

Did I say it would be fixed? NO! I simply said the numbers would go DOWN. Reading comprehension fail.

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 20):
illegal immigrants!

Illegal aliens.
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StuckInCA
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:09 pm



Quoting N1120A (Reply 3):
You really want to know how to reduce the prison population? Legalize marijuana.

No kidding. Most drug offenses should carry much lighter sentences. Marijuana shouldn't even be illegal. Minimum sentences for this sort of thing are ludicrous.

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 7):
What's your point? We have a much larger population than you.

Uh. Other people commented and then you kept going. Sigh. Just... Oh well.
 
Yellowstone
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:12 pm



Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
15% of the inmates incarcerated in the State prisons of California are illegal entrants from Mexico, if we emptied the prison systems of the inmates here illegally we would reduce the prison population dramatically.

So we'd drop from 9 times the incarceration rate of Germany (which I'm guessing is a representative Western democracy) to... 7.7 times the incarceration rate of Germany. Not a dramatic drop...
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Yellowstone
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:15 pm



Quoting JetsGo (Reply 19):
I'm sorry, but once you have commited three felonies, you have proven to society that you are NOT capable of being productive. Three strikes, while expensive, makes sense.

If that third felony is for something like, say, shoplifting, then I'd bet the cost to society of imprisoning that felon for 25 to life is quite a bit higher than the cost to society of their crime habit.
Hydrogen is an odorless, colorless gas which, given enough time, turns into people.
 
Kent350787
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:15 pm



Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 23):
So we'd drop from 9 times the incarceration rate of Germany (which I'm guessing is a representative Western democracy) to... 7.7 times the incarceration rate of Germany. Not a dramatic drop..

I disagree - a very dramatic drop, by anyone's standards.

But that doesn't change the fact that even the 7.7 times is still ridiculously high.....

Kent
 
rabenschlag
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:19 pm



Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 24):
If that third felony is for something like, say, shoplifting, then I'd bet the cost to society of imprisoning that felon for 25 to life is quite a bit higher than the cost to society of their crime habit.

What? The three strikes may include shoplifting? Wow!

So if I steal three snickers bars and get cought three times, I may end up in jail for the rest of my life?

If so, this is really out of proportion. And not wise for society.

Jesus tought us to be forgiving.
 
LOT767-300ER
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:26 pm

What is the outrage for that it is 9x higher than in Germany? There are different laws in place and different kind of sentences. If you cant follow laws and then face their consequences then get out.

People sit in jail here for murders, rapes etc. that they did 30-40 even 60 years ago. Half these people probably would have already let out in Europe.

Heres a great idea, maybe we can just do what Singapore or China does since their prison population is so little so you guys stop bitching. We can execute people for even small amounts of drugs within months of them being caught. Hell, we would probably go 9x less than Germany if we just did that.

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 4):

I think a lot of it has to do with the way of thinking in the US: "if we don't like it, we'll make it illegal and lock people up". As an American living in Holland, I see a big contrast, where Holland typically lets things go if it doesn't hurt anyone. How much money do Americans waste by prosecuting drug laws and jailing offenders? What about other relatively harmless vices such as prostitution?

Im in the USA from a European country too. Half the population of Poland should be sitting in jail for half the things they do on an everyday basis. In the USA they would have already been caught and put in the slammer. Id rather have a high prison population than these idiots be out on the streets.

You dont just get put in prison for a month with a gram of marijuana people, you just get a ticket. If you got a whole lot of it youre probably selling it and thats when you go to jail. Sure I agree it should be legalized at such small amounts but this is some overly stated BS that we have people in US jails sitting there for months at a time because they had a bud on them.

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 20):
Ignore the impact of mandatory minimum sentencing. Ignore the many things that are illegal in the US that are legal in other countries

Id like to hear what exactly those things are that are illegal in the USA that are legal in other countries that you go to prison for. Dont give me that crap that Amsterdam is "other countries" and even for underage drinking you dont go to jail for you just get cited.

Quoting Rabenschlag (Reply 26):
What? The three strikes may include shoplifting? Wow!

So if I steal three snickers bars and get cought three times, I may end up in jail for the rest of my life?

If so, this is really out of proportion. And not wise for society.

Jesus tought us to be forgiving.

Do you know what the difference between petty theft/misdemeanor and a felony is?

Stealing a snickers bar isnt a felony. Educate yourself. Stealing a car from a dealer lot isnt the same as stealing Tic-Tacs.  faint 

[Edited 2010-02-03 14:34:33]
 
Yellowstone
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:43 pm



Quoting Rabenschlag (Reply 26):
What? The three strikes may include shoplifting? Wow!

So if I steal three snickers bars and get cought three times, I may end up in jail for the rest of my life?



Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 27):
Do you know what the difference between petty theft/misdemeanor and a felony is?

Stealing a snickers bar isnt a felony.

I should probably clarify. California law states that if the defendant has previously served time for theft or related crimes, the prosecutor may request that a petty theft charge (normally a misdemeanor) be upgraded to a felony. There is at least one case of a repeat offender being sentenced to 50 years to life for stealing $150 worth of videos from a rental store.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockyer_v._Andrade
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LOT767-300ER
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:47 pm



Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 28):
I should probably clarify. California law states that if the defendant has previously served time for theft or related crimes, the prosecutor may request that a petty theft charge (normally a misdemeanor) be upgraded to a felony. There is at least one case of a repeat offender being sentenced to 50 years to life for stealing $150 worth of videos from a rental store.

Actually I was just replying to the German who apparently had the notion that stealing a $1.50 candy bar will land you in jail.

BTW, why shouldnt he go to jail for stealing $150 worth of merchandise after he commited burgarly, petty theft, transport of marijuana and escaping prison . Are you kidding me? What do you want us to wait for, a christmas card from this perp?
 
rwsea
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:48 pm



Quoting JetsGo (Reply 19):

I'm sorry, but once you have commited three felonies, you have proven to society that you are NOT capable of being productive. Three strikes, while expensive, makes sense.

Not if there's zero discretion for the judge. I think there are circumstances where a life sentence is not warranted.

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 27):

Id like to hear what exactly those things are that are illegal in the USA that are legal in other countries that you go to prison for. Dont give me that crap that Amsterdam is "other countries" and even for underage drinking you dont go to jail for you just get cited.

The war on drugs is a big part of it. Many of the sentences handed down are simply unconscionable. In the rest of the Western world, marijuana is effectively legal. There are many places in the US that still prosecute usage. There are also many unfortunate cases in the US, such as those outlined in this article, http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/04/08/teens.life.sentence/index.html, that show the insanity of some of the sentencing in the US. I don't think you would find similar sentencing in Europe.

The US is a much more violent society than Western Europe. Clearly this heavy-handed, lock everyone up mentality is not effective at lowering crime. As stated above, it's all a business, and with so many (people in positions of power) benefiting from the status quo, there's no incentive to change. Hopefully one positive aspect of the recession will be a revisiting of some of these laws.
 
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Jetsgo
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:50 pm



Quoting Rabenschlag (Reply 26):

Ignorance is bliss.  

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 27):
Id rather have a high prison population than these idiots be out on the streets.

 checkmark 

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 27):
Educate yourself.

 checkmark  checkmark  and  checkmark 

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 28):
There is at least one case

One case. Most of those locked up for three strikes do not fall under this category. Therefore fix this loophole, but do not abolish the law in its entirety.
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Jetsgo
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:54 pm

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 30):
I think there are circumstances where a life sentence is not warranted.

And that is what YOU think. Thankfully a majority of Californians do not think that way. Plain and simple, if you are dumb enough to commit not one, not two, but THREE felonies in the course of your life, you have proven that you stand zero chance at assimilating with the law abiding society or becoming a productive citizen. Can't do the time, don't do the crime(s).

[Edited 2010-02-03 15:09:21]
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LOT767-300ER
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:09 pm

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 30):
The war on drugs is a big part of it. Many of the sentences handed down are simply unconscionable. In the rest of the Western world, marijuana is effectively legal. There are many places in the US that still prosecute usage. There are also many unfortunate cases in the US, such as those outlined in this article, http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/04/08/teens.life.sentence/index.html, that show the insanity of some of the sentencing in the US. I don't think you would find similar sentencing in Europe.


The hell you talking about that its "effectively legal." No, its not legal except for 1 or 2 countries. Just because a country decriminalized marijuana and German cops dont write you a ticket for 20 ounces or less and dont drag your law breaking ass to jail just means they arent doing their job and not that its "effectively legal."

Cops in Chicago wont pull you over for doing 70 in a 55 on I-90. That being said, its not "effectively" legal to go ahead and do 70. As much as I disagree with it, even I understand that.

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 30):
The US is a much more violent society than Western Europe. Clearly this heavy-handed, lock everyone up mentality is not effective at lowering crime. As stated above, it's all a business, and with so many (people in positions of power) benefiting from the status quo, there's no incentive to change. Hopefully one positive aspect of the recession will be a revisiting of some of these laws.

What do you propose that we do? Employ Western European mentality and not enforce and lower sentences? Fantastic, except as you said this is the USA and then the manure would really hit the fan.

Like I said, im Libertarian and all for allowing small amounts of Marijuana legal at the Federal level. But what we have here is people going to the slammer not from just getting caught the first time with a gram of marijuana. These people are repeated felons who burgalrized, assaulted, embezzled and trafficked.



[Edited 2010-02-03 15:13:46]
 
MaverickM11
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:11 pm



Quoting DesertJets (Reply 16):
Because it is under the false guise of being hard on crime that makes politicians look good.

Tough on crime seems to always win over smart on crime, although in the most recent mayoral election here in Houston, it seemed like smart on crime won, thankfully.
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Yellowstone
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:14 pm



Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 29):
BTW, why shouldnt he go to jail for stealing $150 worth of merchandise after he commited burgarly, petty theft, transport of marijuana and escaping prison . Are you kidding me? What do you want us to wait for, a christmas card from this perp?

Of course he should go to jail, just not for 50 to life.
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LOT767-300ER
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:20 pm



Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 35):
Of course he should go to jail, just not for 50 to life.

IMO if he was stupid enough to escape from jail, transport marijuana (which means a crapload of it) and burglarize I dont care if he sits there for 100 years. My guess is the court system got tired of these idiots going to jail for 1 year, doing a crime the next day and going back again for 1 year.
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:26 pm



Quoting NA (Thread starter):
751 out of 10.000 US citizens are in prison, a figure 9 (!!!) times higher than Germany (82). Almost unbelievable.

I'm sorry, but these numbers can't possibly be right. Otherwise, it means that 7.5% of the U.S. population is currently in jail. Since the U.S. has about 220 million adults that would mean our prisons are currently holding 16.5 million people. That's simply not possible.

Here's what wikipedia has to say. And before you slam me for citing wikipedia, the numbers come from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States

USA and territories.
Incarcerated population Number of
inmates in 2008
Total 2,424,279

Further down:

"The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world at 754 persons in prison or jail per 100,000 (as of 2008).[6] A report released Feb. 28, 2008 indicates that more than 1 in 100 adults in the United States are in prison.[12] The United States has less than 5% of the world's population[25] and 23.4% of the world's prison population.[4]"

It appears the OP missed a zero. I'm not debating that the rate is probably too high and has too many non-violent offenders, but we should at least get the numbers right.
 
RussianJet
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:27 pm



Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 7):
What's your point? We have a much larger population than you.



Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 14):
Thanks for telling me what I already knew.

Oh dear. I suppose you don't actually understand the word 'rate'.
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A346Dude
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:38 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 37):
It appears the OP missed a zero. I'm not debating that the rate is probably too high and has too many non-violent offenders, but we should at least get the numbers right.

Looks like he did miss a zero, but the 751 to 82 ratio (9x rate) appears to be accurate.

Edit: A quick look at the data in http://www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/rese...loads/world-prison-pop-seventh.pdf yields a ratio of 738 to 95, or an incarceration rate 7.77 times higher in the US than Germany... but I think we're really splitting hairs here. Either way there is a huge difference.

[Edited 2010-02-03 15:45:02]
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connies4ever
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:56 am



Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 10):
Quoting Petertenthije (Reply 10):
He means per 10.000 citizens. He clearly said so in the original post.

Thanks for telling me what I already knew. I mean what is the point of this whole thread? So we have more people in prison. So what. At least in this country (for the most part) if you commit a crime, and you're caught you're put in prison where you belong.

I'm not sure you understand the point of the OP: why is it that an advanced society like the USA send 9 times as many people to jail per capita as many other advanced societies ? It really begs a question. Of course the USA has the right to set and enforce laws as they see fit. But the basic question remains; is the world out of step with theUS or v.v. ? From your postings I conclude your position is "I don't care about the world".

Quoting FuturePilot16 (Reply 8):
The prison system in the U.S. is nothing more than a business. The more prisons we build, the more construction companies get work, the more fabric companies can make prison jumpsuits, the more correctional officers get hired etc. The more people we put in prison for petty crimes, they go back because they learn more ways to be a criminal in prison rather than how to be rehabilitated. And correctional officers pretend that they care, and they don't. We just recycle the same guys back into the system, and numerous companies make money off it at taxpayers' expense.

Young man (if I may use that term from your profile info) you win the kewpie doll ! I am adding you to my Respected user list -- you figured this one out. The US prison system as vastly inflated by the stupid and wasteful war on drugs is all about business and nothing else. Well done !
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Superfly
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:24 am



Quoting NA (Thread starter):
751 out of 10.000 US citizens are in prison, a figure 9 (!!!) times higher than Germany (82). Almost unbelievable.

Very sad and disgusting.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 3):
You really want to know how to reduce the prison population? Legalize marijuana.

 checkmark 
A vast majority of prisoners aren't even violent. Prison should be for the murderers, assault & rapist.

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 4):
The war on drugs is a big part of this. There are mandatory minimum sentences for many drug-related offenses, giving judges no latitude in sentencing. Some have a misguided notion that this will reduce crime, but in reality I think it makes things worse. There's also three-strikes laws where you get put away for life if you commit three felonies. Puts more people in prison, and additionally, has been shown to increase violence. Under these strict, no flexibility, sentencing laws, there's no additional penalty to say, killing someone in prison or having a shootout with police. Irrational laws like this increase violence.

I think a lot of it has to do with the way of thinking in the US: "if we don't like it, we'll make it illegal and lock people up". As an American living in Holland, I see a big contrast, where Holland typically lets things go if it doesn't hurt anyone. How much money do Americans waste by prosecuting drug laws and jailing offenders? What about other relatively harmless vices such as prostitution?

What will it take to change things? Good question. I think reform of drug laws is a huge and necessary step. I also think that mandatory minimums and three-strikes laws tend to increase violence, and that judges should again have flexibility in sentencing depending on the circumstances. I do worry that as the rift between rich and poor continues to widen, we'll see further increases in crime, so I think you have to look at the social factors influencing crime as well. Finally, I think it's time to do away with private prisons. I don't think it's right to have private companies making money from locking others up. This provides powerful corporate interest in stricter laws that put people in prison.

 checkmark 

Very well said!

Quoting DesertJets (Reply 12):
Because it is under the false guise of being hard on crime that makes politicians look good. Policies like three strikes have frankly been disastrous as more and more of the population is incarcerated. We are literally wasting billions upon billions of dollars warehousing people. People that could have been otherwise productive members of society. Go look at what your state spends on corrections. Then look at what they spend on primary and secondary education, higher education, transportation, health care, etc..... If those dollars could be used elsewhere imagine what could be possible.

Many politicians are both sides of the aisle were pounding their chest throughout the 1990s boasting about the Three Strikes Law. We're now paying for that today.

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 23):
Half the population of Poland should be sitting in jail for half the things they do on an everyday basis.

Like what?

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 23):
You dont just get put in prison for a month with a gram of marijuana people, you just get a ticket.

Not true. That depends on what state or county you're in. You're lucky you living in Cook count, Illinois were the laws a a little bit more lax (be thankful for the liberal Democratic influence in your area).  
Now tell us, what would happen if you can't pay the fine?
If you get caught with marijuana in Utah or Bible-Belt states, the penalties are very harsh.


We have too many feelgood laws on the books too. If a man falls behind in his child-support payments, he could end up in jail. The courts would label him a 'Deadbeat Dad'.
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JBirdAV8r
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:53 am



Quoting Superfly (Reply 37):
We have too many feelgood laws on the books too. If a man falls behind in his child-support payments, he could end up in jail. The courts would label him a 'Deadbeat Dad'.

I understand that you are just pointing out one example of a "feel-good law," but this is one I happen to like.

I know a guy that hasn't paid a lick of child support in several years, and is just now being brought up on said charges. He is able to work, but he just doesn't. He chooses to defy the law by failing to fulfill a court-ordered obligation, and the punishment for that is jailtime. In this situation, I find the punishment apt.
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Superfly
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:23 am



Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 38):
but this is one I happen to like.

...and I am sure many would agree with you.
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ltbewr
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:33 am

I think one of the main reasons for a much higher incarcaration rate in the USA vs. much of the developed world, is economics. Generally in Europe there is much more of a 'middle class' and not the large proportion of population that is poor as in the USA where most criminals tend to come from.

A second point is that American society is very violent and is very gun happy. That leads to a much higher rate of violent crimes that demand long jail terms.
 
CGKings317
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:59 am

It is absolutely stunning about the numbers of people that the United States locks up both on a federal level and at the state and local levels, which leads to this rhetorical question:

If most States' agencies that manage prisons are called "Department of Corrections," and if the inmate population is still going up as this link suggests, what exactly have we "corrected" in society in terms of discouraging crime or turning lives around at the prison-system level?

I suggest that we are failing in the above-said mission.


~ CGKings317  
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Jetsgo
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:46 am

Not that this is 100% on topic since most are discussing drug charges, but here's what can happen when you release prisoners early. Originally arrested for a non-violent crime...

http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs...hives/2010/02/inmate-released.html

One of the inmates the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department released early as part of an effort to reduce the state's prison population was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attempted rape, less than 24 hours after getting out of jail, The Bee has learned.

Kevin Eugene Peterson got out of jail Monday night after serving about two months on a four-month sentence for violating probation on a prior conviction. Peterson was arrested 12 hours later, around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, on suspicion of an attempted rape involving a female counselor at the 1300 block of North C Street, a Sacramento Police Department spokesman said. He was booked into the Sacramento County jail at 3:21 p.m. Tuesday on suspicion of attempted rape, sexual battery, false imprisonment and violating the terms of his probation.


[Edited 2010-02-03 19:48:14]
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Superfly
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:56 am

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 42):
Not that this is 100% on topic since most are discussing drug charges, but here's what can happen when you release prisoners early. Originally arrested for a non-violent crime...

Actually that is very much on topic.
Sounds like this man learned to be more violent in prison. Had he not gone in the first place, he probably wouldn't have tried to rape someone once he got out.

Also, there are 18-20 year old guys in prison for going with 16-17 year old girls. That isn't illegal in Germany but it is here. That also is a reason for our embarrassingly high prison rate.
Those laws are meant to protect 6-7 year olds from pedophiles. Locking up an 18 year old for going with a 16 or 17 year old is an abuse of that law. There are many young & non-violent men in prison for this exact reason.

[Edited 2010-02-03 20:00:14]
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Flighty
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:05 am

Building jails is just a very expensive way to handle crime, after you have already failed to prevent it. Why does this happen? Other countries are more successful at keeping a higher percentage of their people in society. Our crime rates are fairly high, and especially our rates of criminality are high. On that level, we fail as a society. The bargain to remain non-criminal is not convincing enough, to enough people.
 
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Jetsgo
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:13 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 43):
Sounds like this man learned to be more violent in prison.

I doubt it. From the article...

Peterson has a criminal history including a 2008 conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation. On Dec. 2, he was sentenced to four months for violating the terms of his probation, according to court documents

Sounds like a pos all around.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 43):

Also, there are 18-20 year old guys in prison for going with 16-17 year old girls. That isn't illegal in Germany but it is here. That also is a reason for our embarrassingly high prison rate.
Those laws are meant to protect 6-7 year olds from pedophiles. Locking up an 18 year old for going with a 16 or 17 year old is an abuse of that law. There are many young & non-violent men in prison for this exact reason.

Totally agree...a complete and total waste of resources. However, this is a CA thing. Some other state are like it, some aren't. In NV for example, age of consent is 16, as long as the other party is within four years. Seems reasonable to me.

[Edited 2010-02-03 20:19:02]
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Superfly
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:39 am



Quoting JetsGo (Reply 45):
I doubt it. From the article...

Peterson has a criminal history including a 2008 conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation. On Dec. 2, he was sentenced to four months for violating the terms of his probation, according to court documents

Sounds like a pos all around.

Sorry I missed that part of the article. I agree, he was a pos.
What bothers me about these early release is that it they aren't taking in to consideration the crimes these prisoners committed to land in jail. They are releasing armed robbers, rapist and even murderers to make room for recent convictions of marijuana possession, non-payment of child support or going with a 17-year old.
The state needs to change some it's laws regarding these non-violent offenders.
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LOT767-300ER
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:24 am



Quoting Superfly (Reply 37):
Like what?



Multiple DUI, Burglary, Assault, Mega Corruption, Methamphetamine production, Cocaine trafficking, Prostitution/Human trafficking from the Balkans, Grand Theft Auto. The list is endless.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 37):
Not true. That depends on what state or county you're in. You're lucky you living in Cook count, Illinois were the laws a a little bit more lax (be thankful for the liberal Democratic influence in your area).
Now tell us, what would happen if you can't pay the fine?
If you get caught with marijuana in Utah or Bible-Belt states, the penalties are very harsh.

I am now temporarily back in Cook but I am not changing my residence due to the Democrats killing Cook county beyond reason. Cook Co., Chicago and Illinois are broke. You realize it now costs $4.25 per hour to park at a meter at the loop as of this year? You realize also that now it costs $100 to re-new your license plates? You realize we have the highest sales tax of any county in the USA at 10.25%? You realize we now pay a property tax that is 2.5x higher than when we moved in? And what about the interstates? The worst in the nation. You realize we have such corrupt unions in this city that they wont even allow Wal-Mart to build a store in the limits even though it would create hundreds of jobs, a crapfest that was so bad even the mayor finally had to say stop after he opposed. Sucks so bad Im keeping my Florida residency, license and plates and I plan on staying out of this dump permanently. There is no reason to like or live in Cook County, roads are terrible, the sales tax is insane, the property taxes even more insane, state and county fees are so high its unreal. This dump whole county and the city of Chicago has been controlled by democrats since the beginning of time and its been a dump. The only reason why the SW/W/NW and N suburbs are nice and along with DuPage, Lake etc. counties that surround Chicago are liveable and thats where the work and people are moving too is that they arent controlled by Democrats who have pretty much done everything there is to screw Chicago. Thank god we didnt get the Olympics, who knows how much taxes might have gone up nevermind the fact that we have that idiot Pat Quinn wanting to raise our state income tax yet again 50%.
 
Superfly
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:16 am



Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 47):

Multiple DUI, Burglary, Assault, Mega Corruption, Methamphetamine production, Cocaine trafficking, Prostitution/Human trafficking from the Balkans, Grand Theft Auto. The list is endless.

Sounds like here in the US. Would you say Poland is any safer or more violent than the US?
I doubt Poland is going bankrupt to house these losers in an effort to 'prove a point'.

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 47):
Chicago and Illinois are broke.

Who isn't?

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 47):
You realize it now costs $4.25 per hour to park at a meter at the loop as of this year?

That's cheaper than New York or San Francisco.

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 47):
You realize also that now it costs $100 to re-new your license plates?

Cheaper than California.

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 47):
And what about the interstates? The worst in the nation.

roads are terrible,

I agree with you there.
Chicagoans need to dump that turd Richard M. Daley.

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 47):
. Thank god we didnt get the Olympics,

I agree.
Besides, the Wilder-beast you Chicagoans call women are no match for the hot babes in Rio!  
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LOT767-300ER
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RE: US Imprisonment Rate 9x (!) Higher Than Germany

Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:58 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 48):
Who isn't?

Take a look at which states for the most part run a budget surplus vs. which ones run deficits.

California and Illinois along with Chicago and Detroit are the poster children of what it means to have leadership that drives you down to a mega-deficit.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 48):
That's cheaper than New York or San Francisco.

The point im trying to make is it goes up by 25-50% on a yearly basis. So does the CTA and Metra for anyone that doesnt want to drive.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 48):
Sounds like here in the US. Would you say Poland is any safer or more violent than the US?
I doubt Poland is going bankrupt to house these losers in an effort to 'prove a point'.

Not going bankrupt because business is booming, cheap labor, tax-free exclusion zones and big domestic consumption that wasnt based on over inflated mortgages. Moreover theres foreign investment because there are tax breaks and the capital gains tax is fixed at 18% and doesnt fluctuate (that means that it goes basically to 20%+ under Democrats) so people arent worried about being screwed on invested money.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 48):
Cheaper than California.

Isnt it $40 to renew your license plate in California? Everywhere im reading its $40 to renew a plate. Hell, you guys have specialized plates NEW for $50. We have specialized plates renewal for $129.

Its $100 to renew a regular license plate in Illinois. Thats not even CLOSE.

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/vehicles/basicfees.html

I know its "home" but Cook County sucks to live in, and dont forget that Chicago is not the whole Cook Co. Even here in the NW suburbs where parking and space is plenty these idiots keep installing traffic cameras which do nothing except write BS tickets and you gotta buy city stickers (add to that of course your additional parking permit in Chicago) for your car for some stupid amount of money that keeps rising. Added to that are stupid emissions testing and tint laws (just got changed this year) which thankfully they are trying to get rid off.

The only redeeming quality of all this is that speeding tickets are cheap, and you can go to school 2x per year. They best be otherwise people would riot with those kind of speed limits this county has on the interstate.

I havent ever been in such a car unfriendly county and state in the USA in my life.

Frankly, I dont care if its the Democrats or the Republicans who fixes this mess. Its just weve had Democrats ruin this state and city inside out. But If we have some Democrat with a plan ill listen. So far Ive only heard Pat Quinn say hes going to raise the state income tax 50%. Magical.

$100 to renew your damn plate and get this, they introduced a bill to make it legal to not have a front plate to save money. Oh wait, they are trying to also raise plate renewal fee to $110 with ONE PLATE. Ridiculous.

BTW, dont forget that we have also have the tollways which is just one big Irish/Italian road construction mafia. I dont even mind paying a few cents for a toll bridge, but this is horse manure. How the F are the worst roads the toll roads, and how the F is there construction on I-294 and I-90 by ORD ever since Ive moved here in 1993. And again how the F is someone in Illinois paying 4x as much to renew a damn license plate as in New York City.

Thats what I loved about Florida and thats why Im going back there probably real soon. No state income tax, 6.5% sales tax in my county, great roads with no potholes, no stupid $4 parkmeters anywhere and theres even Giordanos in the Orlando Metro hehehe.

[Edited 2010-02-04 00:19:47]

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