Saturday, September 01, 2012

US is the Worst Police State in the World – By the Numbers

US is the Worst Police State in the World – By the Numbers
by Glen Ford
August 31, 2012

There’s no getting around the fact that the United States is the Mother of All Police States. China can’t compete in the incarceration business. With four times the U.S. population, it imprisons only 70 percent as many people – about the same number as the non-white prison population of the U.S. Even worse, 80,000 U.S. inmates undergo the torture of solitary confinement on any given day.

When U.S. corporate media operatives use the term “police state,” they invariably mean some other country. Even the so-called “liberal” media, from Democracy Now! to the MSNBC menagerie, cannot bring themselves to say “police state” and the “United States” without putting the qualifying words “like” or “becoming” in the middle. The U.S. is behaving “like” a police state, they say, or the U.S. is in danger of “becoming” a police state. But it is never a police state. Since these privileged speakers and writers are not themselves in prison – because what they write and say represents no actual danger to the state – they conclude that a U.S. police state does not, at this time, exist.

Considering the sheer size and social penetration of its police and imprisonment apparatus, the United States is not only a police state, but the biggest police state in the world, by far: the police state against whose dimensions all other police systems on Earth must be measured.

By now, even the most insulated, xenophobic resident of the Nebraska farm belt knows that the U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world. He might not know that 25 percent of prison inmates in the world are locked up in the U.S., or that African Americans comprise one out of every eight of the planet’s prisoners. But, that Nebraska farmer is probably aware that America is number one in the prisons business. He probably approves. God bless the police state.

For the American media, including lots of media that claim to be of the Left, it is axiomatic that China is a police state. And maybe, by some standards, it is. But, according to United Nations figures, China is 87th in the world in the proportion of its people who are imprisoned. China is a billion people bigger than the United States – more than four times the population – yet U.S. prisons house in excess of 600,000 more people than China does. The Chinese prison population is just 70 percent of the American Gulag. That’s quite interesting because, non-whites make up about 70 percent of U.S. prisons. That means, the Black, brown, yellow and red populations of U.S. prisons number roughly the same as all of China’s incarcerated persons. Let me emphasize that: The American People of Color Gulag is as large as the entire prison population of China, a country of nearly 1.4 billion people.

However, police states must be measured by conditions behind the bars, as well as raw numbers of inmates. And, by that standard, the American Gulag is even more monstrous.

Civilized people now recognize that solitary confinement is a form of torture. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, reports that solitary confinement beyond 15 days at a stretch crosses the line of torture, yet, as Al Jazeera recently reported, it is typical for hundred of thousands of U.S. prisoners to spend 30 or 60 days in solitary at a stretch. Twenty thousand are held in perpetual isolation in so-called supermax prisons – that is, they exist in a perpetual state of torture. Studies now show that, all told, 80,000 U.S. prisoners are locked up in solitary on any given day. That’s as many tortured people as the entire prison system of Germany, or of England, Scotland and Wales, combined.

If that is not a police state, then no such thing exists on planet Earth. Common Dreams


Anonymous said...

Himself said...

Morning Chuck, Going through your stuff before the Grand Prix.

Without delving deeper, this doesn't make sense, not with the header it don't.

it took years before T.J. would come forward to testify of the brutal rapes that stole his manhood, identity, and part of his soul.

Anonymous said...

The only thing left to do is go crazy - just sit and talk to the walls, a youth confined in Florida was quoted as saying. Screaming, throwing stuff around - I feel like I am alone, like no one cares about me. Sometimes I feel like, why am I even living?

Himself said...

In a lot of these lock downs, there is absolutely no mental stimulation whatsoever, the inmates aren't even allowed a book to read.

But then that's all part of the plan, just turn them into compliant cabbages.

I once commented about some inmate or other, what bit of TV he was allowed to watch was rescinded for an infraction. He though, like many others I suppose, was illiterate.

Just him and the four walls 24/7/365 days of the year.

What a society!

Anonymous said...

America's prison problem.

"We as American citizens are driving other American citizens out of their minds," testified Anthony Graves, a former Texas death row inmate who was exonerated after 18 years. For 10 of those years, Graves was held in isolation.

"No one can begin to imagine the psychological effects isolation has on another human being," he says.

Himself said...

Bonjour Maren.

That captures the essence of the article I think.

It's beyond comprehension how long a period of time that must be to be in solitary, and knowing that you are innocent all along, well it just doesn't bear thinking about.

Multiply that by, not hundreds, but thousands of cases of innocents behind bars, speaks of a system so corrupt it hardly bears thinking about.

One nation under God.

The whole judicial system is broken, people are blackmailed into entering a guilty plea on lesser charges or face the risk of decades in jail if they go to trial.

Let me see if I can find something that I read only yesterday.

Himself said...

Christopher Tappin, 66, made the plea at a hearing in El Paso, Texas, in an agreement with US prosecutors and is due to be sentenced on 9 January.

His plea calls for a 33-month sentence which prosecutors have said they would not oppose him serving in the UK. . . .

. . . Tappin had faced up to 35 years in jail. . . .

. . . But other extradited Britons - including so-called NatWest Three banker David Bermingham, who was jailed for 37 months over an Enron-related fraud in a plea deal four years ago - have claimed the system empowers prosecutors as "judge, jury and executioner".

Himself said...

I have just watched Felix Baumgartner's complete jump.

In case you haven't.

Himself said...

I might go to jail,

but I'm loving it.