America’s Lockup Complex – Robert Hunziker

Year-over-year, America sets new prison records. No other nation on Earth comes close to America’s “lock’em up” ethos.

Therefore, assuming that imprisonment records are accurate, the U.S. is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. How else explain the enormous “lock’em up” numbers? What’s going on? Is America riddled with criminals? Jeez, it’s a wonder that tourists come to America with so many criminals on every street corner.

Not to worry, tourists feel safe because the jails are bulging, overflowing, thus, criminals must be off every street corner and already locked up. That’s what they presume to be true. Why else would they flock in droves to visit Walt Disney World, Six Flags, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, where Mickey Mouse has a star, and other unique American cultural highlights that are targets of post-modernism’s cultural critique.

For sure, the bad guys/gals must be locked up. After all, how many more could possibly be on the loose when, according to The top three lock’em up countries in the world are the U.S. China, and Russia, but exceptionally, the U.S. (pop. 320 million) has more people in jail than China (1.4 billion) and Russia (pop. 144 million) combined. For sure, that’s a world record!

“So let’s look at the statistics.  The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.  Think about that. Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China’s.  We keep more people behind bars than the top 35 European countries combined,” President Barack Obama Speech, NAACP Conference, The White House, July 14, 2015.

“But here’s the thing:  Over the last few decades, we’ve also locked up more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before. And that is the real reason our prison population is so high.  In far too many cases, the punishment simply does not fit the crime… Every year, we spend $80 billion to keep folks incarcerated — $80 billion… For what we spend to keep everyone locked up for one year, we could eliminate tuition at every single one of our public colleges and universities” (Obama).

So it goes, America is really good at jailing alleged vile beastly horrid nasty guys/gals and locking’em up, forever; however, according to Human Rights Watch, new tough-on-crime-laws in America, since the 1980s, have filled prisons with mostly nonviolent offenders. Coincidentally, that’s when neoliberalism took over America (Reagan) and Great Britain (Thatcher) with “tough talk.”

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