Breaking Taboo: Prison Reform
The multi-billion dollar prison industry is in need of new reform.
Conservatives and liberals don’t agree on much, that we know. Whether it might be the Affordable Care Act, the United States’ foreign policy, education, you name it. But they do seem to be agreeing on something; prison reform in the United States. And it’s about god damn time! As most politically versed Americans know, the U.S. leads the world ranks in a lot of seemingly distasteful categories, and number of incarcerated individuals in one of them. They find themselves at the top of a list that include countries like Rwanda, Georgia, and Russia; countries that have experienced civil wars, rampant war crimes, terrorism.
For every 100,000 Americans, over 700 are behind bars. Out of the world’s entire prison population, the United States accounts for twenty five percent. Why is this percentage so high? Well for starters, bogus marijuana related charges. Studies show that nearly one out of every eight incarcerated individuals is there for a pot related offense. That is over 1 billion dollars in taxpayer money being spent to jail these individuals. If the United States wanted a quick and painless way in which to boost our economy, they don’t have to look very far; legalization of marijuana and a quick reformation of our prison system.
The current prison system is an enormous burden on taxpayers in this country-80 billion dollars in 2010- and for what? We can go back and forth about how drugs are directly related to violence and that it is safer to lock them up and throw away the key, but the fact of the matter is these nonviolent offenders are often more harmful to society when they leave than when they went in and often engender more crime.
With the United States’ overall debt equaling approximately 17 trillion dollars, messing around with state programs that are easily debunked and ultimately deemed useless by elementary statistics cuts through party affiliations straight into the logic territory. If nonviolent drug offenders make up half of our federal prison system, which houses 40 percent more inmates than it was designed to, and we are seeing an increase in violence after they leave the penitentiary.
Some, Texas included (someone pinch me), are taking the right steps forward, including passing a bill that sends small time drug offenders to probation rather than prison, allocating over 2 million dollars to drug treatment centers. The effects of these bills are promising, violent crime calling by over 14 percent.
Hot Girls Love: To Smoke Weed
I think it’s time to just legalize marijuana already. Aside from the ultraconservatives who hate everything contemporary and who refuse to accept the facts about the drug, everyone is ready for it to happen; in a recent poll, over 50 percent of the American population favors legalization.
To all the parents out there with college age children: would you rather have your kid drink a fifth of Jack and wrap themselves around a tree with their vehicle, or have them sit on their couch with their friends smoke a joint and giggle at an episode of South Park? Every year, alcohol abuse kills approximately 2.5 million people worldwide, marijuana zero. And economically it’s a no brainer. If marijuana were to be legalized in the United States it would be a 3 billion dollar industry by 2015.
So for all you legislators and policy makers out there; there’s your quick fix. Take it or leave it. To take it would be having logic play an integral role in your decision making. To leave it would be, well, stupid.