Very few Americans fully realize how quickly the US is becoming a massive prison. Citizens are enchained by rising taxes and constant attacks on personal liberties. In addition to weights every citizen must bear, the government is locking up it’s residents at an astronomical rate. Today the United States has a higher conviction rate than the former Nazi Germany. According to CNN:
The United States leads the world in the rate of incarcerating its own citizens. We imprison more of our own people than any other country on earth, including China which has four times our population, or in human history. And now, a new Pew report announces that we are keeping even nonviolent inmates behind bars for increasingly longer terms.
More than two million of our people are now locked up, with another nearly five million under an increasingly restrictive system of correctional control in lieu of or after incarceration. Criminalizing human behavior like never before, our judges are required by law to mete out increasingly punitive, long sentences, even for children. Even after inmates are released, they remain under the heavy-handed and pricey control of the criminal justice system for years or for life, often legally barred from voting, receiving public housing, food stamps or student loans.
Here’s one stark way to understand our new normal of mass incarceration: If we wanted to return to 1970s level of incarceration, we’d have to release four out of five people behind bars today.