In the United States, prisons are a for-profit business and people are being incarcerated to guarantee that profit. Some people have been given life sentences for first time non-violent drug offenses. The laws governing drugs are not about safeguarding people – they are about ensuring the profiteering of prisons.Our country needs compassion and care to help people caught up in drugs – prison offers neither compassion nor care! Please if you have a moment sign petitions for clemency – it truly makes a difference for each person.
19 Actual Statistics About America’s Prison System
1. The United States has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners.
2. The total incarcerated population in the U.S. is a staggering 2.4 million — a 500% increase over the past 30 years.
3. One in every 108 adults was in prison or jail in 2012.
4. One in 28 American children has a parent behind bars.
5. At the end of 2007, 1 in 31 adults was behind bars, on probation or on parole.
6. Currently, 65 million Americans have a criminal record.
7. There are more people behind bars today for a drug offense than there were in 1980 for all offenses combined.
8. The U.S. spent $80 billion on incarceration in 2010 alone.
9. About as many people were returned to prison just for parole violations in 2000 as were admitted in 1980 for all reasons combined.
10. Parole violators accounted for more than 35% of all prison admissions in 2000. Of those, only one-third were returned for a new conviction; the rest were returned for a technical violation, such as missing a meeting with the parole officer.
11. A first-time drug offense carries a sentence of 5-10 years. In other developed countries, that sentence would be six months of jail time, if any at all.
12. The vast majority of those arrested with a drug offense are not charged with serious offenses. For example, in 2005, 4 out of 5 drug arrests were for possession, not sales.
15. African-Americans comprised 12% of regular drug users, but almost 40% of those arrested for drug offenses.
16. More than 96% of convictions in the federal system result from guilty pleas rather than decisions by juries.
17. Conservative estimates put innocent people who plead guilty between 2% and 5%, which translates to tens of thousands of innocent people behind bars today.
18. Eighty percent of defendants cannot afford a lawyer. Tens of thousands of people go to jail every year without ever talking to a lawyer or going to trial.
19. A public defender will routinely have a caseload of more than 100 clients at a time.