Prison Nation

The U.S. prison population, already the largest in the world, grew by 1.9 percent in 2004, leaving federal jails at 40 percent over capacity, according to Justice Department figures

According to the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College in London, there are more people behind bars in the United States than in any other country.

China had the second-largest prison population with 1.5 million prisoners, according to statistics updated in April and cited by King’s College. The total U.S. population is about 296 million, while China’s is 1.3 billion.

The U.S. prison population continued to grow last year even though reports of violent crime during 2004 were at the lowest level since the government began compiling statistics 32 years ago.

So there’s less crime but more prisoners. More than China. More than any other country. Someone is getting richer from building all those prisons, not to mention US convicts being used as ultra-cheap labor by large corporations.

The US Prison Industry: big business or slavery?

Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

  • The figure I heard on the radio is that the U.S. is 25% higher per capita than any other country.

  • We in the UK always do our best to keep up with the US and as far as the prison population is concerned % wise we are doing not bad at all, we are even catching up on the use of prisoners as slave labour. Just another little aspect of capitalism that the mainstream media don’t mention.

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