Prisons, Dorms, and Nursing Homes

Prison Nation continues to grow.

The number of inmates in adult correctional facilities in the United States has topped two million for the first time, the Census Bureau said yesterday.

It isn't exactly cheery news that there are more people residing in prison than in nursing homes, or that there are slightly fewer living in prison than in college dormitories. The most shocking comparison is this one:

Among people living in group quarters, whites were almost twice as likely to be living in a dormitory than a prison, while Asians were nine times more likely to be in a college dorm than in prison. But blacks and Hispanics were about three times as likely to be imprisoned than to be living in a dormitory.

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    I would (none / 0) (#2)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 12:58:58 PM EST
    guess the intactness of families are a larger indicator.  

    but I'm not sure it's accurate to say it causes people to choose to be criminals.

    fwiw, Schwarzenegger is proposing using house arrest and ankle bracelet technology to get CA's least violent offenders out of our over-crowded prisons.

    I'm sure someone will run the numbers on the races of those released to house arrest and find that the releases are racially motivated...

    Individuals are sent to prison for various reasons (none / 0) (#4)
    by JSN on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 01:25:22 PM EST
    such as 1) a new court commitment, 2) a parole revocation, 3) a probation revocation and 4) a return from residential work release because of a violation. We tend to lump them all together by race and apply a one-size-fits-all diagnosis which does not work very well.

    I and others have been able to show that the prison source neighborhoods tend to be low rent urban neighborhoods with high unemployment rates. The police get a lot of calls for service from such neighborhoods and they respond by increasing their patrols or putting in a substation and the police also take a professional interest in persons on probation and parole. All of these factors tend to increase the probability of arrest.

    An arrested person who is unemployed and has a prior criminal record is more likely to be detained in jail than an employed person with no record. I think it is very likely that the high Black/White ratios for jail and prison inmates are established in the first 24 hours after arrest.

    There is a very long list of sociological variables that might be important in explaining the high Black/White ratio for arrest rates. Blacks have higher unemployment rates,poverty rates, high school drop out rates, lower college graduation rates and median family income and they are more likely to be from a single parent family.

    There is no unified theory of crime causation and what incomplete theories we do have don't do well when tested. What we do know is that Blacks who are able to get some education and have stable employment have the same arrest rates as Whites in similar circumstances.

    Very well said.... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 03:39:08 PM EST
    I was just thinking more cops in low-income neighborhoods has gotta have something to do with it.  Good points.

    It is really low rent neighborhoods and the (none / 0) (#19)
    by JSN on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 09:39:03 PM EST
    they fact the poor are concentrated there is because the subdivision restrictions are racist.

    interesting stuff. (none / 0) (#12)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 04:18:21 PM EST
    The correct approach is to look at these factors (poverty, job opportunities, education) and try to fix those.

    I assume Asians are doing even better then whites because they have even higher median income levels and better education (on average).

    Have we not tried to "fix" those factors for decades?

    At what point does one either accept that

    1. the social engineering goal is futile, or that
    2. the methods we've been trying for all these decades now are the wrong methods?

    To your second point, why do Asians in general do "better" than whites? Well, fundamentally, it's because Asians in general want to do "better" more than whites do.

    iow, Asians are more likely to do the things necessary to achieve financial success than whites, and both groups are more likely to do those things than blacks and Hispanics.

    But, then again, all this striving and achieving is what puts us in conflict with other nations (who are themselves busy striving and achieving), so, whatch'a gonna do?


    We are in agreement. (none / 0) (#14)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 04:54:23 PM EST
    To JSN (none / 0) (#5)
    by diogenes on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 02:06:24 PM EST
    You mean it isn't because America and it's criminal justice system is blatantly racist??? :)

    The outcome is blatantly racist but the CJ System (none / 0) (#6)
    by JSN on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 03:14:34 PM EST
    operates pretty much in the open so how does the racism work?
    In my community the police do not have much discretion about making felony arrests so I have a difficult time seeing how supposedly racists police can produce a five to one B/W ratio for felony arrests.

    I think racism is an important factor in complaints to the police and in traffic stops but those tend to be lower level offenses and the only things in my community that show high Black arrest rates resulting from traffic stops are driving while barred (DWB) and driving while suspended (DUS).

    The B/W for persons released after initial appearance is about what one would expect on the basis of population with the exception of DWB and DUS.


    Asians arrest rates are half that of Whites (none / 0) (#16)
    by JSN on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 09:32:14 PM EST
    and very few are detained. On occasion one will find an Asian male held on a felony charge but it is very rare to find an Asian female in jail on any charge.

    I have been told that they have a very close knit community and they seldom call the police. The police do not expect to have problems with Asians and it seems the Asians avoid doing anything that will attract the attention of the police. It is not that hard to avoid attracting the attention of the police.


    more cops (none / 0) (#8)
    by diogenes on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 03:44:49 PM EST
    If you ask the residents in low income neighborhoods they'll usually tell you that there more crimes there-thus more cops.  Isn't that one reason why us rich people try to move to the suburbs...less crime?

    Different strokes..... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 03:54:13 PM EST
    Actually I moved to my suburb for less cops.  

    Still too damn many out here in the 'burbs if you ask me, but it's a slight improvement:)


    Of course, the justice system (none / 0) (#15)
    by Electa on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 07:13:46 PM EST
    is blatantly racist.  This hogwash about Blacks commit more crimes thus necessitating more cops and more prison sentences is a pile of crap.  Are the disparities in sentencing between powder cocaine and crack offenses not imbedded in racism?  Of course it is...whites use more powder and crack plagues the black communities.  Jena is no isolated incident, America is JENA and as evidenced by the massive turnout last Thursday, Black folks are sick, tired and fed up with the enslavement of our people in this country.  White cops repeatedly abuse their power when dealing with Blacks, especially young men.  

    Can anyone explain how a people can be in a country for over 400 years and remain on the bottom while illegal immigrants can force their way into this country unable to speak the language and surpass the group that's been here for 400 yrs?  Surely, there's something wrong with that picture.  Maybe the fact that for 300 of those 400 years Blacks were not allowed to read or participate in wealth building, although the brunt of this country's wealth was made from slave labor and share cropping.  Now miraculously Blacks are expected to progress by leaps and bounds in 40 short years and be compared to Whites who have had the socio-economic advantage since this country's inception.  From where does such thinking come?  It's time to get real.  America is a racist cesspool.    

    If amerika is a racist (none / 0) (#20)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 04:46:29 AM EST
    cesspool, how come Asians do better than whites in this story?  
    Me I still lean toward the family angle.  Intact families are the key to reversing the trend.  

    It's part of it..... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 09:52:36 AM EST
    Not for nothing, part of the reason so many minority kids have no dad around is because dad is locked up.

    Electra take a look at the history of banking. (none / 0) (#21)
    by JSN on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 07:42:03 AM EST
    How many Black bankers do you know?

    "America is a racist cesspool. " (none / 0) (#23)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 11:33:34 AM EST
    As your screed exemplifies so well...

    Prisons: "A Radicalizing Cauldron" (none / 0) (#17)
    by aahpat on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 09:32:46 PM EST
    I wonder how long Americans will tolerate the national security threat posed by the ever expanding criminal class in America.

    According to the newly released New York City Police Department report, "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat" (PDF) by Mitchell D. Silber and Arvin Bhatt Senior Intelligence Analysts NYPD Intelligence Division, prisons are "A Radicalizing Cauldron".

    "Prisons can play a critical role in both triggering and reinforcing the radicalization process. The prison's isolated environment, ability to create a "captive audience" atmosphere, its absence of day-to-day distractions, and its large population of disaffected young men, makes it an excellent breeding ground for radicalization."

    More: U.S. drug war prisons: "A Radicalizing Cauldron"

    Mesh this assertion with America's world record prison population. Add to that the fact that alQaida has taught people to use prisons for recruiting. The Madrid train bombings were carried out by people wno met in prison and, using that networking structure put together the drugs used to fund and facilitate the operation.

    Madrid bomb leader 'identified'
    BBC News
    1 April, 2004
    The BBC's Katya Adler in Madrid says Spanish security officials now say they believe drug-trafficking played a significant role not only in financing the bombings but also in establishing relationships between key protagonists.

    Media reports say Jamal Ahmidan, who has alleged links to al-Qaeda, was orginally recruited by Muslim radicals while serving a prison sentence in Morocco for drug-trafficking.

    Holy Water, Hashish and Jihad

    LA Times
    By Sebastian Rotella, Times Staff Writer
    23 February 2004
    The Muslim extremists responsible for the Madrid train bombings financed the plot by selling drugs, investigators say.

    The hashish came from Morocco. The ideologues of the terror cell justified selling drugs as a weapon of jihad. The Moroccan dealer who financed the plot traded a load of hashish for the dynamite that slaughtered 191 people aboard commuter trains on March 11. The drug trafficker led the cell along with a Tunisian economics student, a duo whose disparity reflects the evolving nature of Islamic terrorism. Both blew themselves up after a standoff with police last month.

    The drug war is a major national security threat in so many ways.

    whose advantage (none / 0) (#18)
    by diogenes on Thu Sep 27, 2007 at 09:32:57 PM EST
    Blacks today are better treated by society and the law than Jews were in the 1920's (Jew quotas against them at colleges, blatant antisemitism, Christian prayers in schools, etc) or illegal immigrants are today.  
    Illegal immigrant blacks do quite well in this country, as do immigrant blacks.
    I remember reading about a South Carolina black woman going to Harvard who complained sadly that all her fellow students assumed that her parents must have been Jamaican.