Incarceration Nation

Silja J. A. Talvi in The Nation:

JailEvery year, American taxpayers fund an estimated $60 billion for our incarceration system. This system staples together a network of public and corporate-run jails, prisons, pre- and post-release centers, juvenile detention centers and boot camps. All together, these facilities hold well over 2 million human beings, locked away without public oversight or scrutiny.

Yet throwing money at the perceived scourge of criminality in the United States doesn’t appear to have had the desired effect: Despite the staggering incarceration statistics, violent crime has actually begun to creep up over the last two years, according to the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report.

In the last several years, some signs have emerged of an increasingly organized movement of citizens, family members of the incarcerated, independent-minded judges and correctional or criminal justice experts–who stand in firm opposition to our punitive, nonrehabilitative incarceration system.

More here.