We have more people in jail than any other nation on earth. Our nation currently has 2.3 million people in jail. The next closest nation is China with 1.6 million but they have over a billion people in that country. We have 300 million. On average it costs the American tax payer 50 grand a year to keep someone in jail. These are all facts that we need to take a serious look at if we want to continue to call ourselves the freest nation on earth. True freedom means having compassion for others. People who commit crimes against society that harm others need to realize the impact that their actions have had. What is at issue here is the proper way to make these people come to that realization.
With our current system we take violent and non violent offenders, lock them away together and give them very little access to programs that may help better understand the gravity of their actions. All they have is their small cell and their thoughts. Oh yes and hundreds of other violent people who only become more and more bitter as they sit in isolation. This is the human equivalent to sweeping our problems under the rug and hope that everything turns out ok. So my only question is why the hell does it cost 50 grand a year to just keep someone in a cell? Food, guards and shelter I suppose but what benefit is this system to the tax payer that pays for it?
The problem as I see it is two fold. We send people to jail for crimes that hurt no one other than possibly themselves and then once they are there, we do nothing to try to prevent them from committing the same crimes again. Prison has because a big business in this country. There are private prisons popping up all over the nation and they are helping to write laws to keep their jails full of non violent offenders. This is wrong for several reasons. First and foremost, the conflict of interest of a for profit prison writing laws to keep people in jail is staggering and a danger to our society. This needs to be prevented at all costs.
Sadly people don’t really care about people who are in jail. They figure they are in there for a reason and it is right for them to be pushing. People do need to face consequences for their crimes, but clearly locking them in a cell and expecting them to figure it out does not work. We need to get more for our money than our current prison system is offering. If we want to claim to be the freest society in the world, it is high time we started acting like it. I have attached an article with all the statistics regarding our prison population. Do take a look at it, it is quite the eye opener.