America: The Gulag Nation

Let it Begin here has the story of how America is becoming a Gulag nation. The latest figures released by the Government show 2.1 million people in jails and prisons.

Any time you hear America is a democracy, where citizens have rights, remember that prisons represent our 35th largest state. We have more people in prison than live in Nevada, West Virginia, New Mexico, Nebraska, Maine, Idaho, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, or Wyoming.

America now is the greatest jailer on earth. We imprison 715 out of every 100,000 citizens, the highest number on the planet. By contrast, Canada's rate of incarceration is 116 out of 100,000, China's is 119 per 100,000 and Germany is 96 per 100,000. Our rate of imprisoning our citizens is approximately 600% higher than either China or Canada.

Racially, things are even worse. In historical perspective, the 899,000 African Americans incarcerated today are nine times the number of 98,000 in 1954, the year of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. So there are now 900% more blacks in prison today than there were 50 years ago, while the black population has only doubled, or increased 100%.

Put another way, you can say that a black person is nine times more likely to be held a prisoner today in the U.S. than they were in 1954.

The huge surge in incarcerations are almost all due to punitive and racist laws that criminalize behavior that is considered to be minor in other countries. Among this are non-violent drug offenses, and the notorious three strikes laws. For example, again using info from the sentencing project, in California, which has a three strikes law, "the third "strike" of more than half (57%) of these persons is for a non-violent offense. In one recent case, Santo Reyes was sentenced to 26 years to life for trying to take the written portion of a driver's license test for his illiterate cousin. Reyes had previously had a juvenile burglary conviction in 1981 and an adult robbery conviction in 1987.

Toby concludes:

Is it any wonder that the abusers put in charge were civilian prison guards before they were called up in the National Guard. They had learned their abuse in America.

As we point out more and more often, America. Prison Nation.

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