Just In Case You Did Not Know
By: Justin Case
The overall general population in the U.S. has 62% white, 13% are black, and 17% are Hispanic. The composition of prison population according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 35% of state prisoners are white, 38% are black, and 21% are Hispanic.
Blacks are incarcerated at a rate of 1,488 per 100,000 while whites are incarcerated at a rate of 275 per 100,000. This means that blacks are incarcerated at a rate that is 5.1 times that of whites. Hispanics are held in state prisons at an average rate of 378 per 100,000 producing a disparity ratio of 1.4:1 compared to whites.
The states with the highest rate of African American (male and female) incarcerated are Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Vermont, Iowa, and Idaho. These were the numbers for July 1, 2013. It is most likely higher today with Trump in office.
On Feb 27, 2018, the Supreme Court passed a law making it so ICE detainees can be held indefinitely without bail. The for-profit prison industry has a large incentive to keep people in jail as long as possible. Each day they house a prisoner that's $459.53 of taxpayers money that goes to funding the prison industry. Based on a 2013 study of how much it cost to house and guard inmates in New York (goo.gl/eFP62Z) the number may have gone up since then, and slightly less from state to state. Higher for immigrants with children.
The fact that private prisons are based on investor bottom line before all else: to have more people in prison next quarter than this quarter is the only way to make prisons profitable. So allowing prisons to be for-profit, it opened our society up to no consideration for justice.
A recent new study has shown annual cost of incarceration exceeds $1 trillion in the U.S. Eleven times the $80 billion spent annually on corrections alone, and 6% of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP).
The Institute for Advancing Justice Research and Innovation at Washington Univ. in St. Louis have factored in the various societal cost of incarceration. Things like lost wages and increased criminology among the children of incarcerated parents, as well as other collateral expenses. Many affected families live beneath the federal poverty line as it is, and are the same families that struggle the most beneath the massive financial burdens of incarceration. Everything from paying bail bonds and raising the children of incarcerated parents, to the cost of prison and jail phone calls and fees to place money on prisoner's institutional accounts.
According to the study, an estimated $923 billion in incarceration-related costs are not factored into annual government budgets. Those hundreds of billions of "invisible dollars" are an enormous drain on overall social welfare, and account for more than 90% of the overall cost of incarceration. Due to the incomplete data that lawmakers have received previously regarding incarceration cost, they have vastly undercounted the financial impact of decades of harsh sentencing laws and soaring prison population.
Just in case you did not know that social welfare is maximized when incarceration is supplied at the level where the marginal social benefit equals the marginal social cost. Underestimating the cost of incarceration by ignoring hundreds of billions of dollars in cost could cause incarceration to be oversupplied, resulting in a level of incarceration beyond that which is socially optimal.
I woke up early one morning 3 or 4 am with a thought: suppose there was an 800 number that can only be reached through a prison phone for prisoners only and you could ask any legal question to get an answer. Like free legal help. Business hours only. Unlimited time. Paid for by any business, Univ. or corporation which will be a tax deduction.
You will be talking to attorneys and paralegals and law students. That would be so easy to set up. No one is willing to do such an easy solution to give prisoners access to the courts because it would drastically reduce the prison population within a few years. The elite in this country would lose billions as stated above. The rich and powerful like Trump don't want to see the prison population reduced, but increase to make them richer.
Just in case you don't know , the Gallup World Poll has found Costa Rica to be the happiest country to live in in the world. Nov. 2017 National Geographic Magazine. An alchemy of geography and social policies has created a powerful blend of family bonds, universal health care, faith, lasting peace, equality, and generosity. This all culminates in an especially rich recipe for enjoying life day by day - the pleasure strand of happiness. Here this combination - all statistically associated with well-being - delivers more happiness per GDP dollar than just about anywhere else. This country, for most of the past century, has believed in supporting every citizen. Unlike most of Central America, where land barons and military-backed presidents who served their own interests dominated after independence, Costa Rica took a different path. With rugged, ravine-etched mountain ranges and a lack of cheap indigenous labor, conditions there discouraged the rise of large haciendas. Instead small property owners and independent-minded Central Valley farmers thrived after discovering an international market for coffee. Costa Ricans elected teachers as presidents, who, unencumbered by corrosive colonial institutions introduced policies that launched an upward spiral of well-being and thus the environment for the Latin American character to thrive.
Since 1970 Costa Rica has seen life expectancy jump from 66 years to 80 years and infant mortality drop by a factor of seven. The death rate from heart disease for men is about a third less than that in the U.S., even though Costa Rica spends one-tenth as much per capita on health care as the U.S.
The nation's health care system works so well because it aims to keep people healthy in the first place. In the U.S., incentives are aligned to drive up costs. There for years the emphasis has been on the preventive health system because, just in case you aren't aware, the objective of a good healthy policy is for people not to get sick.
We have the wrong kind of people running the government who have no idea what the average citizen needs. Trump has always been wealthy. What compassion does he have for the working man? If a person has never been a prisoner, what does he know about the needs of a prisoner? Experience make the best leaders.
The biggest enemy in this country to the working class and the prison industry is the rich and powerful. As long as they control the infrastructure in this country, there will be no real happiness for the average citizen and no let up in the prison industrial complex, because its only a means to make more money for them with no regard for the ones making the money for them. A government based on capitalism is a government of selfish greed.
I love the government of Costa Rica. No government is perfect. All have flaws, but when you start looking at other countries and how they are structured, you will learn you did not know that America is not all that.
There are a lot of things I still don't know, but what I do know is that our incarceration can have some positive sides to it. It gives you time to stop and smell the roses.
In this case it means just in case you did not know, doing time can open your mind. That is if you read and study worth while knowledge that will benefit you now and guide you effectively when you are released.
Here are some newspapers free to prisoners so that you will know. Prison Lives, Box 842, Exeter, CA 93221-0842. They provide prisoner assistance services including internet research, paralegal work, typing, scanning, graphic design and lots more. Request one of their info. brochures.
News + Letters, 228 S. Wabash, Suite 230, Chicago, IL 60604. Ask for the free newspaper. Published bi-monthly.
ABC, Box 11236, Denver, CO 80211. Just say you wish to participate in the social movement.