America turning into one huge prison
on 11/13/2004 (1)
WASHINGTON - With 1.3 million adult Americans, or 1 out of every 109, currently incarcerated for a felony, technical advances in law enforcement and a higher percentage of subsequent convictions have fueled an alarming trend that may result in the entire population of America being in prison by 2080.
|"Escape from New York, or Escape to New York?" |
U.S. Attorney Johnny Beauford explains:
"Advances in law enforcement techniques, heavily aided by technology, have resulted...well, in plain English, in more people getting caught. 30 years ago, we didn't have video cameras, computer assisted data retrieval and matching, drug and alcohol roadside tests, quasi-military surveilliance of public and private property or DNA testing. Simple fact is, if you commit a crime today, you probably won't get away with it. Of course that's a good thing."
Or is it?
As a larger and larger percentage of the U.S. population are incarcerated -the largest "new" catagory being simple drug offenses- questions are raised as to who will pay for the incarceration, how much the GNP is eroded due to lost labor, and the dicey chances that ex-cons will ever be able to return to a normal life or a decent wage after they are released. It almost seems as if America is hell bent, with great zeal and enthusiasm, in destroying the lives of its own citizens and the very fabric of its own society.
Beauford ponders further
"Well, we can lax up on crime...which won't happen...we can hope that stiff penalties will deter crime...which also won't happen...or we can take a more proactive approach on matters such as drug abuse by making certain drugs conditionally legal, or give the poor better economic opportunities so they won't have to steal to eat...which won't ever happen either. In the mean time, we need to build more prisons and hire more people in law enforcement."
Beauford brushed his moustache and tapped a pen on his knee
"I'm guessing that eventually, the people inside of prison will outnumber those outside, in which case there will be a revolution of some sort. Sorta like Snake Pliskin in the movie 'Escape from New York. There just doesn't seem to be any other possibility."
Beauford forsees entire towns behind bars, complete with convenience marts, chapels, pharmacies, liquor stores, video game rental stores and, yes, even prisons.
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