Violent crime in the United States has decreased significantly over the past 30 years while at the same time the prison population in the United States has increased at alarming rates. Of course you never hear about the steady decline of violent crimes in the U.S. because the same companies that own the media outlets are the same companies that own the prisons that have been turned into another way for people to make money out of misery.

In 1980 the population of the U.S. was 225,349,264. According to the United States Crime Rates there were 1,344,520 violent crimes committed in 1980. Of those violent crimes 23,040 of them were murders. That means that in 1980 you had a 0.0059% of being a victim of a violent crime. That’s less than one hundredth of one percent.

In 2012 the population of the U.S. had grown dramatically. The population was 313,914,040. In 2012 there were 1,214,464 violent crimes committed. In 32 years the population grew by almost a one hundred million people and still violent crime was significantly lower than it had been in 1980. In 2012 your chance of being the victim of a violent crime fell to 0.0038%. And even with nearly a million more people in the country, the number of murders that took place in 2012 fell to 14,827. Nearly 10,000 less than the number of murders that took place in 1980.

“Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today — perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system — in prison, on probation, or on parole — than were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America — more than six million — than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.” — Adam Gopnik

Do those numbers jibe with the amount of people that are currently incarcerated and/or under the direct supervision of the justice system?

Jail  Prison  Parole  and Probation Populations in the US  1980 2009   Felon Voting

Adam Gopnik says it loud and clear in The New Yorker:

a growing number of American prisons are now contracted out as for-profit businesses to for-profit companies. The companies are paid by the state, and their profit depends on spending as little as possible on the prisoners and the prisons. It’s hard to imagine any greater disconnect between public good and private profit: the interest of private prisons lies not in the obvious social good of having the minimum necessary number of inmates but in having as many as possible, housed as cheaply as possible. No more chilling document exists in recent American life than the 2005 annual report of the biggest of these firms, the Corrections Corporation of America. Here the company (which spends millions lobbying legislators) is obliged to caution its investors about the risk that somehow, somewhere, someone might turn off the spigot of convicted men:

This is a direct quote of a report that appeared to stockholders in a company called Corrections Corporation of America, the largest for-profit prison company in the country.

Our growth is generally dependent upon our ability to obtain new contracts to develop and manage new correctional and detention facilities. . . . The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.

That’s what they think about our “justice” system. That’s what they think about our sons and daughters, wives and uncles that are serving time for non-violent offenses thanks to lobbyists and profiteers convincing politicians that profit is greater than justice.

It cannot be said any more clearly. People are making hundreds of millions of dollars by imprisoning poor people in this country, by influencing politicians and by keeping the fear mongering at an all-time high.

The United States, the “land of the free” has more people in prison per capita than any other country on the planet. Ignorance isn’t an excuse anymore. We either have to stand up and openly protest this inhumane treatment of our own citizens or just admit that we’re actually complicit in these atrocities.

They’re not making us safer, they’re making themselves richer at the cost of our freedom and our peace of mind.

Posted by James Poling

A socialist, tinkerer, thinker, question asker and all around curiosity seeker. If you'd like to reach me you can use the contact link above or email me at jamespoling [at] gmail [dot] com.


  1. […] Private prisons? These are actual companies, corporations with investors and boards of directors that make money by building private prisons and then contracting with the state/federal government to house all these degenerate criminals that are so scary. That means that if there aren’t people getting arrested and put in jail/prison that these companies aren’t making money. Their investors are losing money. For the love of God, how can we keep this prison racket profitable with all of these non-existent criminals not committing violent crimes? Guess we’ll just have to start locking up non-violent people too. […]



  2. […] Sadly Americans haven’t been able to take advantage of this fact or enjoy the the exhilarating feeling that we are living in the safest time in history to live. Why? Because corporations still need to keep us afraid so we don’t question why more Americans are in prison than in any other country in the world. Most of them are private, for-profit prisons. […]



  3. […] we have stood by while a few wealthy individuals have turned our country and its citizens into a prison industrial complex. They’ve done such a good job of making sure that they can make money by taking away […]



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