The United States has about 5% of the world’s population. However, 25% of the world’s prisoners are in the United States. We love to arrest people, and we do it more than any other civilized country, and we do it at an ever increasing rate.
Half of all federal prisoners are there because of a nonviolent drug offense. The number of nonviolent drug offenders in prisons and jails around America has increased 1100% since 1980.
African Americans constitute only about 15% of the nation’s drug users, which is about the same as their percentage of the general population. But they constitute 37% of those arrested for drug offenses, 59% of those convicted for drug offenses, and 74% of those sentenced to prison for a drug offense.
The rate of imprisonment has escalated under Obama unlike in any previous administration.
Last month, President Obama quietly sought to enforce federal crack cocaine laws that have since been repealed. The administration asked a federal appeals court to ensure that thousands of human beings, mostly poor and mostly black, remain locked in prison – even though everyone agrees that there is no justification for them to be there.
This is the same Obama who spoke on national television about the Trayvon Martin trail last week and said that we need more focus and education for young black men. Perhaps he could start with ensuring that we don’t arrest and imprison them disproportionally to the rest of the young male population.
In California, it costs about $47,000 a year per prisoner.
Here is a place where we can really fix something, make the U.S. a better country and save a ton of money.
Prohibition never works, anywhere.