Monday, July 11, 2005
Nobody Knows the trouble I've seeen.....
I was recently chatting with a bunch, I mean about 8-10 people from my circle friends. I don't like to brag, but I have often commented on the upward mobility and top 1 percentileness of the people I tend to hang out with. Having been shocked at some of my brother's group of friends, and their shaky lifestyles (I noticed several youngsters bearing many woulds of varying severity). And though I can't say all my friends are entirely guiltless of acquiring wounds within their years, I certainly can say, with pride, that there are no fresh wounds on any of my friends. I can say the same about unwanted pregnancies, drug addiction, violence in general. My group is a stable, sane group of well employed, and well educated people. Shockingly, as i was conversing with the nine, I found out a lesser known fact about all my chums. We have all, at one point or another, been handcuffed, put in the back of a Police cruiser, and taken to a holding facility of one form or another for various stretches of time. How can this be? As a group we range from the mild mannered librarian types, to the beastly binge-weekend types, but all of us had some time in the clink, and the stories to share. Here are some interesting Figures for you all to digest.
Since 1976, the USA has executed more than 970 prisoners. In 2004, 59 prisoners were executed (an average of one per week). Between 1990-2005, the USA executed the most child offenders in the world.
In 1968, there were 517 prisoners on death row in the USA. Currently, more than 3,400 are on death row waiting to be executed - legally. Death row numbers have increased about 4.9 times as fast as the American population. 68% of all death verdicts are eventually reversed by courts, due to various serious errors in the criminal justice system. Since 1973, 119 prisoners have been exonerated from death row.
The USA incarcerates the most people per head of population than any other country in the world. More than 2.2 million of the world's 8 million prisoners are incarcerated in the USA (1 in every 75 males). The USA has over half-million more prisoners than China, with only one-quarter of China's population. Since 1980, the USA incarceration rate has more than tripled. Currently, 6.9 million Americans make up the correctional population. More than 4 million Americans are on probation and 800 thousand are on parole.
1 in every 31 Americans are either in prison, in county jail, in police custody, on probation, on parole, or on community service.
Each year, the USA incarcerates more than 10 million people. More than 2.3 million child offenders are arrested every year. More than 10,000 child offenders are held in high risk adult prisons.
Each year, there are some 3,000 reported deaths-in-custody. Ten years ago, only 150 deaths-in-custody were reported. The incarceration rate in the USA is currently 726 per 100,000 people. Almost two thirds of world countries have incarceration rates of 150 or below, per 100,000 people. The USA has the toughest prison sentences in the world, which include the death sentence and life in prison without parole.
On average, the USA homicide rate is 7-9 per 100,000 population. Texas, the country's leading execution state, has actually experienced an increase in the homicide rate. In the city of Los Angeles alone, there are 20-50 murders every 24 hours. The USA has the highest rates of childhood homicide, suicide and firearm-related deaths among 25 industrialised countries. There are more than 28,000 gun-related deaths every year in the USA. The overall firearm-related death rate among American children less than 15 years of age is 12 times higher than in all 25 industrialised countries combined. The overall firearm-related homicide rate is nearly 16 times higher. The firearm-related suicide rate is nearly 11 times higher.
(source: U.S. Bureau of Justice stats - Nov. 2004, FBI stats, USA Sentencing Project, USA Department Health and Human Services, Death Penalty Information Centre, International Centre for Prison Studies, Amnesty International)
Now get this.
In 2005, the adult correctional population reached a record high. If recent incarceration rates remain unchanged in the USA, an estimated 1 in every 19 Americans will be incarcerated during their lifetime.
Seems like we'll all be having a criminal past in common.