August 22, 2012

Facts: Love Behind Bars

  • Long prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders are the single greatest multiplying factor behind the monumental increase of US prison populations in the last 20 years.

  • The power to punish -- power that can't be scrutinized -- leads defense attorneys to counsel defendants to plead guilty; the government wins about 97% of drug cases brought to trial.

  • From desks and chairs, to aircraft parts, ammunition and helmets, a federal prison operating near you is likely involved with war production.

  • In Nevada prisons, there is a black to white inmate ratio of 5:1.

  • Las Vegas tallied 9,532 violent crimes in 2005.

  • In 2005, 62,013 crimes were reported in Las Vegas.

  • For the first time since midyear 1997 the number of additional jail inmates grew faster than the number of new jail beds during the 12 months preceding June 30, 2002.

  • In 2007, the U.S. correctional population -- those in jail, prison, on probation or on parole -- totaled 7.3 million, or 1 in every 31 adults.

  • One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.

  • In the past 20 years, according the Federal Bureau of Investigation, violent crime rates fell by 25 percent, to 464 for every 100,000 people in 2007 from 612.5 in 1987.

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