Wealth, and the desire to preserve it, is what drives citizens of rich nations to demand an increasingly punitive justice system

by George Monbiot

Published on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 by The Guardian/UK

Written from the point of view of the United Kingdom.

As ever, Britain appears to be chasing the United States. In both absolute and relative terms, the US’s prison population is the highest on earth: 1% of its adult population is behind bars. This is five times our preposterous rate and six times Turkey’s. It is over twice the rate of the nearest contender, South Africa. If you count the people under community supervision or on probation, the total rises to more than 7 million, or 3.1% of the adult population (all references are on my website). Black men who failed to complete high school in the US have a 60% chance of ending up in jail. I feel I need to say that again: 60% of unqualified African-American men go to prison. It’s beginning to look as if the state has stopped imprisoning individuals and started locking up a social class. Is this what we aspire to?

Read the entire article here.

Pin It