“A U.S. Justice Department report released on November 30 showed that a record 7 million people — or one in every 32 American adults — were behind bars, on probation or on parole at the end of last year. Of the total, 2.2 million were in prison or jail.
According to the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College in London, more people are behind bars in the United States than in any other country. China ranks second with 1.5 million prisoners, followed by Russia with 870,000.”
“Julie Stewart, president of the group Families Against Mandatory Minimums, cited the Justice Department report and said drug offenders are clogging the U.S. justice system.
Why are so many people in prison? Blame mandatory sentencing laws and the record number of nonviolent drug offenders subject to them,” she said.”
Is it me or does something seem wrong with this picture? Many states have “third misdemeanor for the same offense is a felony” laws. Is the public served well by such laws in the case of nonviolent offenders? Wouldn’t a system in which nonviolent drug offenders be forced to pay high fines, perform endless hours of community service, and mandatorily enter rehab programs at either their or their insurance companies expense ulimately prove more useful and less costly to the public?
What’s your opinion?