And then there is the exploitative MS-NBC with its hours and hours each week of prison desensitzation programming. What's next? Televised waterboarding? How about an Incarcerated American Idol? I know of a ready-made audience of 2.3 million viewers. Sponsored by Honeybuns? I know I shouldn't give them ideas.
More than one in 100 adult Americans is in jail or prison, an all-time high that is costing state governments nearly $50 billion a year, in addition to more than $5 billion spent by the federal government, according to a report released today.
With more than 2.3 million people behind bars at the start of 2008, the United States leads the world in both the number and the percentage of residents it incarcerates, leaving even far more populous China a distant second, noted the report by the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States.
The ballooning prison population is largely the result of tougher state and federal sentencing imposed since the mid-1980s. Minorities have been hit particularly hard: One in nine black men age 20 to 34 is behind bars. For black women age 35 to 39, the figure is one in 100, compared with one in 355 white women in the same age group. . . .
. . . .Florida, which nearly doubled its prison population over the past 15 years, has experienced a smaller drop in crime than New York, which, after a brief increase, reduced its number of inmates to below the 1993 level. . . .