US: The number of inmates, [prisoners], in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.
The continuing increase in the prison population, despite a drop or leveling off in the crime rate in the past few years, is a result of laws passed in the 1990's that led to more prison sentences and longer terms, said Allen J.. Beck, chief of corrections statistics for the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics and an author of the report.
At the end of 2003, there were 1,470,045 men and women in state and federal prisons in the United States, the report found. In addition, counting those inmates, [prisoners], in city and county jails and incarcerated juvenile offenders, the total number of Americans behind bars was 2,212,475 on Dec. 31 last year, the report said.
The report estimated that 44 percent of state and federal prisoners in 2003 were black, compared with 35 percent who were white, 19 percent who were Hispanic and 2 percent who were of other races. The numbers have changed little in the last decade. Statistically, the number of women in prison is growing fast, rising 3.6 percent in 2003. But at a total of 101,179, they are just 6.9 percent of the prison population.
Alfred Blumstein, a criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University, said one of the most striking findings in the report was that almost 10 percent of all American black men ages 25 to 29 were in prison. Such a high proportion of young black men behind bars not only has a strong impact on black families, Professor Blumstein said, but "in many ways is self-defeating." The criminal justice system is built on deterrence, with being sent to prison supposedly a stigma, he said. "But it's tough to convey a sense of stigma when so many of your friends and neighbors are similarly stigmatized."
In seeking to explain the paradox of a falling crime rate but a rising prison population, Mr. Beck pointed out that F.B.I. statistics showed that from 1994 to 2003 there was a 16 percent drop in arrests for violent crime, including a 36 percent decrease in arrests for murder and a 25 percent decrease in arrests for robbery.
But the tough new sentencing laws led to a growth in inmates, [prisoners], being sent to prison, from 522,000 in 1995 to 615,400 in 2002, the report said.
Similarly, the report found that the average time served by prison inmates, [prisoners], rose from 23 months in 1995 to 30 months in 2001.
Among the new measures were mandatory minimum sentencing laws, which required inmates, [prisoners], to serve a specified proportion of their time behind bars; truth-in-sentencing laws, which required an inmate, [prisoners], to actually serve the time he was sentenced to; and a variety of three-strikes laws increasing the penalties for repeat offenders. In the three states with the biggest prison systems, California, Texas and Florida, the number of newly admitted inmates, [prisoners], grew last year, but the number of those released either fell or remained stable, Mr. Beck said.
Several states with small prison systems had particularly large increases in new inmates, [prisoners], led by North Dakota, up 11.4 percent, and Minnesota, up 10.3 percent. New York had a 2.8 percent decrease in new inmates, [prisoners], reflecting the continued sharp fall in crime in New York City, Mr. Beck said.
Over all, Mr. Beck said, the prison population is aging. Traditionally the great majority of inmates, [prisoners], are men in their 20's and early 30's, but middle-aged inmates, [prisoners], those 40 to 54, account for about half of the increase in the prison population since 1995, he said.
This is a result both of the aging of the general American population and of the longer sentences, Mr. Beck said.
But the number of elderly inmates, [prisoners], is still small, despite longer sentences and more life sentences. Those inmates, [prisoners], 65 and older were still only 1 percent of the prison population in 2003.
By FOX BUTTERFIELD posted 10 November 04
Race-Based Prison Policy Is Under Justices' Scrutiny
US: WASHINGTON, A California prison policy of temporarily segregating all new and newly transferred inmates by race came under attack at the Supreme Court on Tuesday in a case that pits the justices' tradition of deferring to prison administrators against their dislike of government policies that classify people by race.
A Death in the Box
By the time Jessica Lee Roger was discovered on the floor of her prison cell on Aug. 17, 2002, it was too late. In the 24 minutes since guards had last checked her, she had tied a bed sheet around her neck and, after many attempts over three years in prison, finally strangled herself.
How Denying the Vote to Ex-Offenders Undermines Democracy
US: pundits blame apathy for the decline in voter turnout that has become a fact of life in the United States in the last several decades.
The Ex Factor: US prisoners and ex-prisoners voting rights
Prison-reform groups work to educate former felons on their voting rights. The red-faced man slows his shopping cart of empty beer cans and stares in disbelief at the white form just thrust into his hand.
Prison Mail Censorship
We all know what prison mail censorship is about and it's certainly not about security: Those In Charge want Those Who Are Not to think that prisoners are illiterate, less than salvagable beasts. If the system had its way, prisoners would scrawl their appeals in crayon on toilet paper. It's all about the illusion.
The U.S. system of 'justice' is a tragic joke
US: Police abuse, and sometimes kill, innocent persons at will. Cops plant evidence, they lie, they coerce confessions and they commit perjury. Many are, simply, criminals.
The Long Trail to Apology
Native America: All manner of unusual things can happen in Washington in an election year, but few seem so refreshing as a proposed official apology from the federal government to American Indians - the first ever - for the "violence, maltreatment and neglect" inflicted upon the tribes for centuries.
As state prisoners, we have long been portrayed by advocates of the tough-on-crime movement as a faceless and heartless amalgam deserving extreme punishment and permanent incapacitation.
Abu Ghraib, USA
When I first saw the photo, taken at the Abu Ghraib prison, of a hooded and robed figure strung with electrical wiring, I thought of the Sacramento, California, city jail.
SACRAMENTO: Prisons to reform solitary confinement rules
US: Sacramento -- California corrections officials will revamp procedures used to keep thousands of prisoners isolated in tiny cells in some of the most remote lockups in the state, according to the settlement of a 10-year-old lawsuit brought by a jailhouse lawyer doing time at Pelican Bay State Prison.
Silencing the Cells: Mass Incarceration and Legal Repression in U.S. Prisons People without a voice are not people in any meaningful sense of the word. Silenced people cannot express their ideas; they can neither consent nor protest. They are reduced to being pawns in the schemes of the powerful, mendicants who must accept whatever is imposed upon them. In order to keep people in a state of subjugation, silencing their voices is essential. Nowhere is this clearer than in U.S. prisons.
USA: An ugly prison record
US: For a nation founded on slavery and genocide, Americans retain an astonishingly enduring faith in their continuing righteousness. They are sounding this note again as the prison torture scandal continues in Iraq.
From Terrell Unit in Texas to Abu Ghraib Doesn't It Ring a (Prison) Bell If the president wasn't so forthright about his disinterest in the world, it would have been hard to believe him Wednesday when he said the abuse in Abu Ghraib prison "doesn't represent the America I know." But being stripped, hooded and urinated on while your friend is forced to masturbate next to you? The only member of the Bush clan who knows about that kind of thing is Jenna.
Restorative Justice Practices
This is part one in a series of articles about restorative justice practices of Native American, First Nation and other indigenous people of North America. Part one of this series includes inter- views with three justice practitioners of the southwestern United States:
USA: Problems, blame abound in prison system
A correctional officer, [guard], watches over the central exercise yard at Folsom State Prison. California built 21 prisons and tripled prison staff as the statewide inmate, [prisoner], population grew in the '80s and '90s.
Mistreatment of Prisoners Is Called Routine in U.S.
Physical and sexual abuse of prisoners, similar to what has been uncovered in Iraq, takes place in American prisons with little public knowledge or concern, according to corrections officials, inmates, [prisoners], and human rights advocates.
A Catch-22 for Ex-Offenders
Tuesday, April 6, 2004 -- As the Bush administration focuses attention on ex-offenders with its modest program to help them return to the community, an eye-opening new study shows that the effort will require a lot more than re-entry programs.
A Quite Deliberate Failure: Reflections on the Politics of Crime
Though it is always difficult to predict the outcome of an election in the United States, it is quite a bit easier to make accurate pronouncements about the way in which an election campaign will unfold.
Personal Voices: America From Inside Federal Prison
I offer these thoughts to readers who may have an interest in knowing how the growing American prison population perceives the electoral process. Elections are the essence of democracy; they give each eligible voter an opportunity to be heard.
Fighting for Florida: Disenfranchised Florida Felons Struggle to Regain Their Rights US: TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Jeb Bush looked out over a roomful of felons appealing to him for something they had lost, and tried to reassure them.
Abolish the Security Housing Units: MIM
March 6 -- Protesters took to the streets in cities across the state of California to demand California prisons shut down the Security Housing Units (SHU). Like other control unit prisons across the country, the SHU are prisons within a prison. They are solitary confinement cells where prisoners are locked up 23 hours a day for years at a time. The one hour a day these prisoner sometimes get outside of their cell is spent alone in an exercise pen not much larger than their cell, with no direct sunlight.
USA: Sobering Prison Statistics
US: If recent incarceration rates remain unchanged, an estimated 1 out of every 20 persons (5.1%) will serve time in a prison during their lifetime.
Helping Prisoners Find Their Way Home?
Antonio Pinder used to be scared of returning home from prison, stricken by fear that he would fall back into the life that landed him behind bars. He hadn't had a steady job before he was sent away 13 years ago, and he worried that he never would. A year out of prison, he is still searching for work.
US Prison system ending love affair with incarceration?
After 25 years of explosive growth in the U.S. prison system, is this country finally ending its love affair with incarceration? Perhaps, but as in any abusive relationship, breaking up will be hard to do.
CONS COMMIT CRIMES IN HASTE, NOW CAN REPENT AT LAWTEY - -- Gov. Jeb Bush, in a Christmas Eve address to prisoners at the nation's first ''faith-based'' prison, in North Florida.
CURE --- Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants
CURE --- is a nation-wide grass roots organization dedicated to reducing crime through reform of the criminal justice system.[Criminal Law System.]
The Truth About Private Prisons
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation's largest operator of prisons for profit, is celebrating its 20th anniversary throughout this year "at both the company's corporate Nashville office and at all of the more than 60 prisons, jails and detention centers under CCA ownership and/or management."
CCA PRIVATE PRISONS: REPORT GRASSROOTS LEADERSHIP
New National Study of Corrections Corporation of America Warns Investors and Legislators of Risky Investment. Report explores continuing operational and financial problems; questions CCA's long-term viability as states reassess prison policies.
Finally, States Release The Pressure on Prisons?
US: After decades of massive prison growth, America may be ending its love affair with incarceration. Policymakers around the country, some of whom previously supported ratcheting up punishments, have begun to rethink the wisdom of unbridled prison expansion, and are advocating alternatives to simply "locking them up and throwing away the key."
California Parole System Deemed 'Broken'
SACRAMENTO, Calif: California spends $1.5 billion annually on parolees who mostly fail and are sent back behind bars because they are no better prepared for life on the outside than the day they entered prison, according to a report.
People with Mental Retardation in the Criminal Justice System
Based on the 1990 census, an estimated 6.2 to 7.5 million people in the United States have mental retardation. Various studies have suggested between 2 percent to 10 percent of the prison population has mental retardation.
USA: With Cash Tight, States Reassess Long Jail Terms
OLYMPIA, Wash., Nov. 6 - After two decades of passing ever tougher sentencing laws and prompting a prison building boom, state legislatures facing budget crises are beginning to rethink their costly approaches to crime.
A STRUGGLE ON TWO FRONTS: PRISONS & IMPERIALIST WAR
After a war waged by the U.S. military against Vietnam which took the lives of more than 3 million Vietnamese people and more than 58,000 GIs, the U.S. finally withdrew in 1975. It had suffered its first official major military defeat by a united people struggle led by the Vietnamese, along with a mass U.S. anti-war movement.
Report on State Prisons Cites Mental Illness
NEW YORK: Nearly one of every four New York State prisoners who are kept in punitive segregation [solitary confinement], confined to a small cell at least 23 hours a day are mentally ill, according to a new report by a nonprofit group that has been critical of state prison policies.
High court keeps alive case of prisoners held in solitary
NEW ORLEANS: The nation's highest court refused Monday to kill a lawsuit brought by two prisoners and an ex-prisoner at the Louisiana State Penitentiary who spent decades in solitary confinement.
US: Mentally Ill Mistreated in Prison More Mentally Ill in Prison Than in Hospitals (New York, October 22, 2003) Mentally ill offenders face mistreatment and neglect in many U.S. prisons, Human Rights Watch. "Prisons have become the nation's primary mental health facilities. But for those with serious illnesses, prison can be the worst place to be."
Shut down the Security Torture Units
San Francisco: October 18 In solidarity with other prison activist organizations, MIM, RAIL, the Barrio Defense Committee (BDC) and the Prison Reform Unity Project held a four hour rally in San Francisco demanding the Security Housing Units (SHUs) in California prisons be shut down.
Solitary Confinement: Mental illness in prisons
As noted earlier, inmates [prisoners] with mental illness are over represented in our toughest prison settings. Symptoms of mental illness (i.e., delays in response time, paranoia, difficulty interpreting the actions of others, command hallucinations, and so on) can make complying with prison rules difficult.
Pat: "The 1990s brought a new front in the war on drugs, featuring a new layer of the Prison Industrial Complex, which has the effect of ensuring that people coming in contact with the criminal punishment system remain within the grasp of the Prison Industrial Complex even beyond prison walls."
Inside Prison, Outside the Law
Every year, tens of thousands of prisoners in state and federal custody are attacked. The exact number who die is difficult to determine: According to the nonprofit Criminal Justice Institute, in 2000, the most recent year for which figures have been compiled, 55 prisoners were murdered, 39 died "accidentally," and 118 died for unknown reasons.
Day Seven of the Fast for Freedom in Mental Health:
PASADENA, CALIF: On the seventh day of a hunger strike by six psychiatric survivors to oppose human rights violations in the mental health system, the American Psychiatric Association faces a direct and unprecedented challenge from a Scientific Panel of 14 academics and clinicians.
Supreme Court Justice Criticises Sentencing Guidelines
San Francisco, August 9, 2003, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said today that prison terms are too long and that he favours scrapping the practice of setting mandatory minimum sentences for some federal crimes.
US prison population 2.1 million
The US prison population grew more than twice as fast last year as in 2001, bringing the total number of people held behind bars in the United States to more than 2.1 million, a record, according to a government report.
McKean Federal Prison: An Alleged Model
McKean, a federal correctional institution [? prison], does everything that "make 'em bust rocks" politicians decry--imagine, educating inmates [prisoners]! And it works. [Allegedly works.]
Prisoners Justice Day Press Release (Montreal)
On August 10th, 1974, Eddie Nalon bled to death in a solitary confinement unit at Millhaven Maximum Security Prison near Kingston,Ontario when the emergency call button in his cell failed to work. An inquest later found that the call buttons in that unit had been deactivated by the guards.
Notebook of a Prison Abolitionist
In his autobiography, Frederick Douglass recalls how as a slave he would occasionally hear of the "abolitionists." He did not know the full meaning of the word at first, but he heard it used in ways that he found appealing.
Study Warns of Rising Tide of Released Prisoners
Washington: More than 625,000 former prisoners will be coming back into U.S. society this year, part of a record flow of prisoners who will face crushing obstacles in finding work and housing and repairing long-fractured family ties, according to a newly released study.
Incite Statement Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex
We call social justice movements to develop strategies and analysis that address both state AND interpersonal violence, particularly violence against women.
Second International Conference on Human Rights & Prison Reform
**This second gathering will be much smaller and more in depth in participation. A report on the human rights violation of discrimination in regard to prisoners will be produced. This report will be given to the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights which will be having its annual meeting near our conference and is the"think tank" for the human rights agenda of the United Nations.
Judged Forever- The Orange County Register
US: California's largest job-placement program for parolees will be shut down May 31 after an Orange County Register investigation found that ex-convicts were sent to questionable jobs [?] and that the state was charged for placements that did not occur. [? According to the ruling-class]
California Family Visiting Case
US: CALIFORNIA: Today (5/03/08) in Superior Court around twenty friends and family members of inmates from CSP Solano showed up to show their support in the Gordon vs. CA Department of Corrections (Case #322862) which deals with the subject of bringing back Family Visits to all inmates.
Prison Rates Among Blacks Reach a Peak, Report Finds
An estimated 12 percent of African-American men ages 20 to 34 are in jail or prison, according to a report released yesterday by the Justice Department.
Justices question prison visitation policies
WASHINGTON: In a case that could affect the visitation rights of millions of prisoners, Supreme Court justices on Wednesday struggled with the question of whether inmates have a constitutional right to visits with friends and family.
Govt, police 'let off the hook' Haneef inquiry
8 years ago