Even though the official crime rate is still lower than it was in the 1990s, the number of prisoners continues to increase, because harsher sentencing rules introduced in previous years reduced the number of people leaving prison. The latest report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that the mean time served for current prisoners increased from 23 months in 1995 to 30 months in 2002. So even with a slower rate of prisoners coming in, the population increases because fewer people are leaving.
The total number of prisoners in state, federal, and local custody was 2,085,620 at the end of 2003, up 2.6% over the previous year. The annual average rate of growth from 1995 to 2003 was 3.5%. If the number of prisoners keeps increasing at a 3.5% annual rate, it will reach 3 million in 2014 and 4 million in 2022. If it grows at the slower rate of last year alone, it will reach 3 million in 2018.
As the population also grows, it's important to look at the imprisonment rate, or the number of people out of every 100,000 that is in prison. That's the number that shows how much the prison craze is impacting the internal Black and Latino colonies by removing whole segments of the productive population. The overall imprisonment rate increased from 601 per 100,000 population in 1995 to 701 in 2002, and 714 in 2003. The rate for Black men, however, was 3,405, compared with 1,231 for Latino men and 465 for White men. At the most extreme, the rate reached 9,262 -- or 9.3% -- for Black men ages 25-29. At that age, Black men are 8.5-times more likely to be in prison than White men. Overall, the prison population in 2003 was 44% Black and 19% Latino.
One other number to watch is the number of prisoners under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which increased 12% from 2002 to 2003. More importantly, that number has increased by 186% from 1995 to 2003 (8,177 to 23,514). That shows the continuing reach and repressive capacity of the police-state border authorities, which are charged with regulating the flow of labor from the oppressed nations in the U.$.A.
The Amerikan injustice system and its prison operations are fundamental aspects of the national oppression of Amerika's internal colonies, and increasingly of non-U.$. citizens as well. The giant prison industry is also a source of construction projects and employment for the labor aristocracy, especially in white rural areas where many prisoners are located. To get involved with MIM's anti-prison agitation -- against censorship, control units, and the imperialists' death penalty -- visit http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/agitation/prisons.
Source: "Prisoners in 2003" (NCJ 205335). See:
The release of the 2003 U.$. imprisonment figures received widespread coverage in the media. For example, the USA Today article of November 7th left the impression that the new figures are a record for the united $tates but not the whole world. USA Today simply failed to mention the global comparison. It also felt obligated as an infotainment outlet to quote idiots claiming that the imprisonment rate reduces crime.(1)
Likewise, the Moonie newspaper of the reactionaries in Washington DC called the Washington Times did not mention any international comparison or any context at all really in its November 7 article.
Best of all, old nemesis Fox Butterfield wrote an article for the New York Times also published in the San Francisco Chronicle(2) that does not mention any international comparison. Butterfield found himself capable of writing a whole book on China denouncing Mao and the New York Times has written countless articles about repression under Mao in China. Yet it is still too much to ask that Butterfield and the New York Times actually know what they are talking about in comparative context.