We are all Stalin now

Fareed Zakaria:

“Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today,” writes the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik. “Over all, there are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America – more than 6 million – than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.”

We are a democracy, we are all responsible for our government and how it treats it’s citizens.

We are all Stalin.

The root cause of this totalitarian incarceration rate is largely the due of the so-called “war on drugs.”

Bipartisan forces have created the trend that we see. Conservatives and liberals love to sound tough on crime, and both sides agreed in the 1990s to a wide range of new federal infractions, many of them carrying mandatory sentences for time in state or federal prison. And as always in American politics, there is the money trail. Many state prisons are now run by private companies that have powerful lobbyists in state capitals. These firms can create jobs in places where steady work is rare; in many states, they have also helped create a conveyor belt of cash for prisons from treasuries to outlying counties.

This is truly disgraceful.

The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens.

How does that compare to other countries?

It’s 7X-10X as high:

  • Japan has 63 per 100,000,
  • Germany has 90 per 100,000
  • France has 96 per 100,000
  • South Korea has 97 per 100,000
  • ­Britain has 153 per 100,000

 

2 comments to We are all Stalin now

  • Gareth

    If you want to end the drug war and start emptying the Gulag, you don’t need to wait for craven, bought-off politicians to reform the laws. There is no better solution than “Jury Nullification”. Don’t convict people of unjust laws or laws for which the punishment is itself unjust. Don’t let the Judge tell you that you must convict even if you disagree with the law. The Judge is wrong. The Founders established the right to a “jury of peers” as a check on the power of the state to deprive citizens of their freedom. Just say no.

    But, whatever you do, don’t mention the term “Jury Nullification” around any legal functionaries, as people have been arrested for even distributing literature on the subject. That’s how dangerous the idea is to the prison-industrial, full-employment complex.

    I am aware of the argument that this is how the KKK operated back in the day, but our current abbatoir of a legal system has superseded the Klan, assuming it’s racist and repressive agenda. So, just say “Not guilty Yer honor”, with pride. A hung jury is all it takes, one trial at a time, until the legal apparatchiks realize they are wasting their time. Besides, I keep hearing that the Assistant District Attorneys are overworked, so think of it as a win-win.

       1 likes

  • nonquixote

    Thanks Gareth,

    For those who had been unaware and who might have been called to jury duty:

    http://www.wisbar.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Wisconsin_Lawyer&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentId=108803

       0 likes

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