I n 2007, according to the National Association of State Budgeting Officers, states spent $44 billion in tax dollars on corrections. That is up from $10.6 billion in 1987, a 127 increase once adjusted for inflation. With money from bonds and the federal government included, total state spending on corrections last year was $49 billion. By 2011, the report said, states are on track to spend an additional $25 billion.
The United States, according to the New York Times , has 5% of the World's population and 25% of all people incarcerated on the planet! In reality, in the United States, one in every hundred people are in some kind of incarceration. One may ask why we have so many of our citizens behind bars? There is no simple answer, but all of the answers point to money. Incarceration is big business in the United States.
Some private corrections companies such as Wackenhut and others, charge either the States or the federal government from $30 to $60 a bed. Billions are spent on the US prison system. Again, according to the times;
That's a lot of scratch, bucks, greenbacks and Benjamin's. The new way of building the prison population is putting people who fail to pay their debts in jail. Even though the United States outlawed debtors prisons in 1869, and passed a law so that debtors could not be incarcerated, it's happening now.
According to Debt Solutions USA, a private company;
I t's not a crime to owe money, and debtors' prisons were abolished in the United States in the 19th century. But people are routinely being thrown in jail for failing to pay debts. In Minnesota, which has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country, the use of arrest warrants against debtors has jumped 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 cases in 2009, a Star Tribune analysis of state court data has found.
The United States ranks first in prison population. Where did we get all of these criminals? Well the answer comes from the reckless and costly War on Drugs, the new prohibition that makes convicts and criminals of those that have a substance abuse problem. In 2000 there were 74,276 drug related prisoners. In 2008 it was 95,079. In 2010 it was 95,205. This amounts to 50.7% of the entire prison population. It's also an increase of 28.2% since 2000. We house those with substance abuse problems with professional criminals. What will we get when these people are released after serving an average 55 months in prison?
How many families have been broken up by the government? Other countries put these drug offenders in treatment. It all has to do with money.
This is what capitalism has done. People are now profiting by locking up other human beings. And the longer people are are locked up, the more profitable the industry is. It is estimated that 60 percent of all the current prison system is housing non-violent offenders. So, we are not necessarily locking up the "bad guys." We are essentially detaining an entire generation, leaving them with the impossibility of obtaining housing or employment following incarceration, all for a profit. Yay for us.
Some states require inmates to pay for their incarceration. In Connecticut a family visit costs $10.00 and is charged to the inmate. In New Jersey, the state charges inmates for every day they are incarcerated.