We’re Number One

Although this news is likely to excite my “tough on crime” friends I find it rather disgusting, especially for a nation that calls itself the freest on Earth:

“Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today,” writes the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik. “Over all, there are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America – more than 6 million – than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.”

Is this hyperbole? Here are the facts. The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. That’s not just many more than in most other developed countries but seven to 10 times as many. Japan has 63 per 100,000, Germany has 90, France has 96, South Korea has 97, and ­Britain – with a rate among the ­highest – has 153….

That’s right, the United States, the supposed bastion of freedom on this planet, has more people in its prison system than the Soviet Union did under Stalin. Anybody who has paid attention to the prison-industrial complex in the United States is unlikely to be surprised by this news. We’re talking about an industry where children have been sold to prisons so those prisons could enjoy the benefits of young slave labor. It is rather sickening that people still claim the United States is some kind of bastion of freedom considering we have more people in cages than any other nation, including some of the most tyrannical regimes.