77% of Americans “identify” as Christians according to a 2012 Gallup poll.

14.5% Americans live below the poverty line. That is according the 2013 Census. According to the Census that number fell from 15% in 2012 which was the first time since 2006 the number of Americans living in poverty declined.

About 0.94% of adults in the U.S. are incarcerated. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 2,266,800 adults were incarcerated in U.S. federal and state prisons, and county jails at year-end 2011 with another 4,814,200 adults at year-end 2011 were on probation or on parole. Of course these numbers don’t show the complete gravity because those numbers don’t even include inmates held in U.S. Territories (appendix tables 2 and 3), military facilities (appendix tables 2 and 4), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] facilities, facilities contracted by the U.S. Marshals Service, jails in Indian country, or juvenile facilities.”

Several hundred inmates crowd the gymnasium at San Quentin prison in San Quentin, Calif., Wednesday, May 20, 2009.  California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed selling the aging prison to help ease the state's budget crisis.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Several hundred inmates crowd the gymnasium at San Quentin prison in San Quentin, Calif., Wednesday, May 20, 2009. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed selling the aging prison to help ease the state’s budget crisis.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The United States has, by far, the most citizens incarcerated per capita than any other industrialized nation in the world. Technically in 2012 a small island nation off the coast of Madagascar named Seychelles passed the United States for the most prisoners per capita but since their entire population is less than 100,000 we’re going to exclude them. The next few countries that come close to imprisoning as many of its own citizens as the United States are all small island nations, not exactly what you would call industrialized.

The United States imprisons 707 out of every 100,000 people. The next closest is the Russian Federation with 470. England and Wales are 148. Even China only imprisons 124 per 100,000.

Wow, the United States must be a scary place since we have so many our citizens rotting away in prison keeping them safely away from society. But this is called fun with numbers, so let’s see, do the numbers really back that up?

Number of people incarcerated in the United States over past 90 years (1920-2010)


Violent crime rate in the United States over the past 30 years (1973-2003)


What!? How can that be? How could the prison population have risen so dramatically while violent crime has decreased virtually every year since the mid-90’s? Is there something else, some other factor that could cause the prison levels to skyrocket even as crime continues to fall? It’s not like anyone could actually benefit from locking people away in prison…could they?


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.

According the Bureau of Prisons own website which was updated less than a week ago, “drug offenses” overwhelmingly what people are being locked up for.


Many, if not all, of these private prisons have clauses in their contract with the states they’re located in that guarantee the state will keep the prison occupied to an agreed upon number. A national study showed that Louisiana guarantees private prisons operating in the state that they will have at least 96 percent occupancy, and if they don’t house that many inmates, the state pays them that much, anyway. And if the state doesn’t pay up the private prison companies are suing the states for not filling their quotas.

It makes you wonder, how many peoples’ friends, families and loved ones are in prison not because of a crime they committed but in order to fill a quota to avoid lawsuits from prison companies.

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.

One Comment

  1. […] 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 […]



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