By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
2/6/2013 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
According to a new report by the Congressional Research Service, the federal prison population has jumped from 25,000 to 219,000 inmates in 30 years. This represents an increase of nearly 790 percent. Prisons, full to the brim with inmates paints a grim picture of the United States where 716 people are incarcerated out of every 100,000.
Three decades of "historically unprecedented" build-up in the number of prisoners in the U.S. have led to a level of overcrowding that is now "taking a toll on the infrastructure" of the federal prison system, according to the research wing of the U.S. Congress.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Three decades of "historically unprecedented" build-up in the number of prisoners in the U.S. have led to a level of overcrowding that is now "taking a toll on the infrastructure" of the federal prison system, according to the research wing of the U.S. Congress.
"This is one of the major human rights problems within the United States, as many of the people caught up in the criminal justice system are low income, racial and ethnic minorities, often forgotten by society," Maria McFarland, deputy director for the U.S. program at Human Rights Watch says.
As a consequence of the imposition of very harsh sentencing policies, McFarland's office has begun seeing juveniles along with the very elderly being put in prison. "Last year, some 95,000 juveniles under 18 years of age were put in prison, and that doesn't count those in juvenile facilities," she noted.
"And between 2007 and 2011, the population of those over 64 grew by 94 times the rate of the regular population. Prisons clearly aren't equipped to take care of these aging people, and you have to question what threat they pose to society - and the justification for imprisoning them."
A growing number of these prisoners are being put away for charges related to immigration violations and weapons possession. The largest number is for rather petty drug offences. This is an approach that one of the report's authors, Nathan James warns is no longer useful in bringing down crime statistics.
"Research suggests that while incarceration did contribute to lower violent crime rates in the 1990s, there are declining marginal returns associated with ever increasing levels of incarceration," James notes.
A reason behind these startling figures is people that have been imprisoned for crimes in which there is a "high level of replacement."
Citing an example, James says that if a serial rapist is incarcerated, the judicial system has the power to prevent further sexual assaults by that offender, and it is likely that no one will take the offender's place.
"However, if a drug dealer is incarcerated, it is possible that someone will step in to take that person's place," James writes. "Therefore, no further crimes may be averted by incarcerating the individual."
The increase in prison population is also a result of a "get tough" approach on crime in the U.S., under which even nonviolent offenders are facing stiff prison sentences.
By J. Kenneth Blackwell
While much of our attention is on the Presidential race, the looming battle over a Supreme Court nomination merits no less attention. The battle lines are clear in this nomination and the future of the Court and our Constitutional principles are at ... continue reading
By Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life
Amoris Laetitia is a timely and loving exhortation for families towards genuine charity that begins within the nuclear family. It can be described as a new road-map for a culture that has taken a sad and tragic detour. The Joy of Love recognizes women's ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Father, raise up women like Catherine of Siena for this new missionary age of your Church. Women who are so in love with you, and so conformed to the Image of your Son, they can do for your Church in this hour, what she did in her own. Saints are a gift for the ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Andrew Cash practiced his religious rights at Missouri State University - and was dismissed from the master's program in counseling as a result. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Catholic News Agency, Cash was referring same-sex couples to another ... continue reading
By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Does the news seem a little too pro-American to you? Does it seem reporters pull punches and that the real issues are ignored? Perhaps that's the result of a quiet change to the law that took place in 2013. A law banning the use of government propaganda on the American ... continue reading
By Matt Hadro (CNA)
Experts from across the political spectrum are calling for criminal justice reform, as a new White House report shows the human and economic costs of the current justice system. Washington D.C. (CNA) - "This is a singular moment in one of the most challenging issues ... continue reading
By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
An appalling portrayal of Jesus plastered to a dartboard was posted up as artwork inside the Art Library at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The "art piece," titled "Vitruvian Man," shows Jesus nailed to the dartboard ... continue reading
By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
The American people are seemingly obsessed with public restrooms these days and precisely how people use the potty. The fear is being stoked by concerns that individuals who "self-identify" as the opposite sex, will take advantage of liberal policies and assault ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Jesus said to his disciples: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. CHESAPEAKE, VA. ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
U.S. President Barack Obama announced 250 more special operations forces are to be deployed to Syria within the next few weeks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Obama stated: "Just as I approved additional support for Iraqi forces against ISIL, I've decided to ... continue reading