February 29, 2008

Prison Blues

Americans apparently have a prison fetish. Why do I say that? Because more than 1 out of every 100 American adults are in jail. There are more people in American jails than in Chinese jails - 1.5 million- total, and there are 5.5 times as many citizens.

The thing that is most appalling is that 1 out of 15 black people are in jail and even more sickening, 1 out of every 8 black men between ages 20 and 34 are behind bars, and 3.5 times as many black women age 35 to 39 as white women. Last night I was told that there are more black men in prison than in college.

I'm not sure how to interpret this. Is the system that screwed up? I knew it was fucked when I read last year about the population growth of American jails and the overcrowding in them. But seriously, if a black person is 6 times as likely to go to jail than the average American, something is wrong.