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And The Home of The Free

  1. Feb 29, 2008 #1
    Well not quite. I knew our prison population was booming but when I looked at the actual numbers I was quite shocked. As a society we seem to be losing our grip. Poor education, high crime, surely the most powerful nation in the world can do better than this.

    http://www.azstarnet.com/news/227488

    About half of the prisons in Arizona are now privately owned and operated. I guess we could say: "It provides jobs" or "here is one industry where we can compete with China."
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2008
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  3. Feb 29, 2008 #2

    Evo

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    But increased law enforcement is want the majority want. They want criminals caught and locked up. We have what we asked for.
     
  4. Feb 29, 2008 #3

    Pythagorean

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    : (

    Those of us that are minority voters don't.

    edit:

    emphasis added
     
  5. Feb 29, 2008 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Evo, you don't see a problem here?
     
  6. Feb 29, 2008 #5

    Evo

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    I see a problem in that it is costing us a fortune to house and take care of these people.

    But the laws are there because people want or allow them. The criminals are incarcerated because the people want or allow them to be.

    What I see is that Americans have gotten what they wanted. Whether by apathy or by calling for stricter laws and more law enforcement.

    Do you disagree?
     
  7. Feb 29, 2008 #6

    Evo

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    This country is based on what the majority wants, as I said. <emphasis added>

    I might add that the majority of those imprisoned are minorities and illegals.
     
  8. Feb 29, 2008 #7
    If we would spend more on education, the criminals would know how to commit just white collar crimes and they wouldn't get caught! :biggrin:
     
  9. Feb 29, 2008 #8

    Pythagorean

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    I realize how the country works. I'm a US citizen, and by minority voter, I mean I generally vote against the tide (not as an objective, but as an observation of past results.)

    Or by being minority voters. You say this country is based on what the "majority wants" but I don't think that's necissarily true. The only way I hear about propositions is through the media and I see a lot of attempts at deceit in the way I'm instructed to vote on these propositions.

    If they are still making these attempts at deceit (the same sort of propaganda from when TV first started) then they're obviously effective. There's obviously a significant mass of idiots out there that buy into the emotional pitches that come out of lobbying.

    Take Alaska for instance. Last time the oil company wanted to influence a decision, they put a couple of 8 year olds from California in front of the camera with hardhats, one at a time, each with their own cute little supportive expressions.

    I don't think the majority is getting a clear enough message to make a decision about what they want. I think there needs to be an unbias way to get information to voters. I'm very ignorant of politics, myself. It's all very confusing to me because I don't trust people's words alone, and I don't have enough time to research all the things I'd like to on the subject.
     
  10. Feb 29, 2008 #9

    Evo

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    Well, that's rather frightening, I don't vote based on commercials. :bugeye:

    And again, if the majority of Americans are that stupid, and we allow them to vote, then are you saying we should prevent the uneducated and gullible from voting?
     
  11. Feb 29, 2008 #10

    Kurdt

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    In most countries you can read the proposals for new laws or strategies at a local library or now on the internet and thus you don't need to listen to the media commentary. In the commonwealth we have white papers and green papers. Most parties produce manifestos before elections as well that people can read and individual politicians will often add to the party manifesto their particular aims for their constituency. They are generally widely available.
     
  12. Feb 29, 2008 #11
    Something similar happens with the "drug war". It carries a lot more weight when the law enforcement agencies say they confiscated X amount of cocaine/heroine/whatever vs. something like programs for kids so they have something to do besides drugs.

    People don't want to deal with the issue of there being a need for all these inmates and stuff in the first place.

    And what's more, why in the hell do people go to jail for drug USE? Giving underage kids alcohol is illegal, but drinking it yourself isn't. Do they arrest kids that are drunk, or just take them to their parents and deal with them? Because putting someone behind bars, essentially ruining their lives, for smoking some weed is ridiculous.
     
  13. Feb 29, 2008 #12

    Pythagorean

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    I don't believe many on this forum (especially the Mentors!) would vote based on commercials, but we hardly represent the majority (assuming most of us appreciate scientific method).

    As to your question, buried in that wall of text above:

    Like I said, I too am one of the ignorant when it comes to some of the things out there. I do spend the time to research when it comes time, but it takes a lot of energy and time.

    Another alternative is to get rid of lobbyists like Arctic Power.
     
  14. Feb 29, 2008 #13
    Although I constantly complain about the cost to the public in relation to illegal immigration, our prisons are not filled with a majority of illegal immigrants. We do have a number of illegals involved in the drug trade who are in prison, but overall they comprise a small percentage.

    It is difficult to track the illegal population, but what information there is shows that illegal Hispanics have a much lower rate of incarceration than Native born Hispanics.


    http://borderbattles.ssrc.org/Rumbault_Ewing/index1.html

    The minority black population is quite a different story. I think that the original article stated that in the 25 to 35 age groups 1 in 10 of young black males were in prison as of Jan 08.

    Drug use and drug related crimes are the predominate factor among all groups. This is especially true among high school drop outs. For the drug users and the crimes they commit there is a revolving prison door up to a point.

    When the third offence is prosecuted the door stops revolving. And that, is as you mentioned, what the people wanted. We have what we asked for and it isn't working.

    Where we go from here is a mystery. People in the suburbs ignore the problem, while the politicians pretend that there is no problem.
     
  15. Feb 29, 2008 #14

    Astronuc

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    I once encountered a woman who voted for Bush strictly because she thought he was better looking than Gore. At first I thought she was joking, and I laughed until I realized she was dead serious. She had no understanding about either candidate or their positions.

    Evo is absolutely right on this. Nixon and Reagan campaigned on law and order, and the Republicans did well when they adopted stern (even harsh in some cases) policies against crime, while arguing the opposition was too soft on crime.

    Economic and educational disparities, and a persisent level of racism, in the US contributes to a disproportionate level of minorities in the criminal justice system.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2008
  16. Mar 1, 2008 #15
    A recent survey taken in the prisons shows that 100% of the inmates are innocent. A nation that has such a large percentage of its population spending the rest of their lives looking for the real criminal can hardly call itself free. But for those of us who still haven't been caught yet, keep this in mind. We mapless US Americans have more freedom to commit crimes in the first place. Among the criminal population, the US probably has the lowest per capita prison population in the world.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2008
  17. Mar 1, 2008 #16
    The ridiculous prison population is part of the reason the US unemployment rate is as low as it is (so much for free markets btw):
    http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/210135?journalCode=ajs

    Is there any question that the current situation is unsustainable?
     
  18. Mar 1, 2008 #17

    russ_watters

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    I'd love to hear the logical thought process by which you came to that conclusion. :rolleyes:
     
  19. Mar 1, 2008 #18
    copied/pasted a second time, from the abstract of a study of the US penal system as a labour market regulator:
     
  20. Mar 1, 2008 #19
    I am not surprised about these statistics, we have had a government that has neglected

    "Many of the Bush proposed cuts are obscene, such as the termination of $1 billion in child-care funds over five years, and the complete elimination of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program that provides food assistance to low-income seniors, needy pregnant women and children."

    What we see here is simply the result of neglect for the bottom 10 percentile. I also feel like the black community feels more disenfranchised during the Bush years. Adding to the downward spiral of fatalistic thinking within this community.

    I know conservatives don't like to hear but there is actually money to be saved with prevention policies. But maybe the police and prison industry has become to powerful already.
     
  21. Mar 1, 2008 #20
    fourier jr didn't write that, he just quoted it. But it is nonsense. Incarceration has a dramatic effect on unemployment figures, but very little on employment figures. Unless by 'in part' the author mean 'in miniscule part'.
     
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