Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) slammed attempts in Congress to pass criminal justice reforms that would do away with some mandatory minimum sentences.
“Take a look at the facts. First, the claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact: for the vast majority of crimes, a perpetrator is never identified or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted, and jailed,” Tom Cotton said during a speech at The Hudson Institute, according to his prepared remarks. “Law enforcement is able to arrest or identify a likely perpetrator for only 19 percent of property crimes and 47 percent of violent crimes. If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem.
Here are some important facts about the prison system in the United States.
- At the start of 2015, there was 2.2 million Americans in prison.
- The U.S. has the highest prison population in the world and has more citizens incarcerated per-capita than any other country, about 724 per 100, 000.
- Thanks to the three strikes policy, over 3, 000 Americans are serving life without parole for non-violent crimes.
- The prison industry is hugely profitable. Private prisons generate $70 billion a year.
- Many products are made by prisoners who earn as little as two-cents an hour, including 90 percent of house hold paints, office furniture, all military uniforms, police gear and license plates.
- Prisons are very costly for state governments and the federal government. California spends $64, 000 a year per prisoner and at the same time, they spend less than $10, 000 a year per college student.
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