You’ve heard that the United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country. The Left keeps telling you that. It is a fraud that is parroted endlessly, but not subjected to scrutiny.
The same Left wails that the United States has more gun homicides than any other advanced country.
If the second statement is true, you can conclude that the United States has an army of violent criminals who should be locked up.
Let’s examine the fact that the U.S. incarcerates so many, an idea that is used to terrify us and breed guilt. That ends now.
Since we are the world’s third most populous nation — following only China and India — if all other things were equal, it stands to reason that we would be in the Top Three in incarceration. That’s simple math, pure numbers.
But all other things are not equal. China is an oppressive police state that has spies in every neighborhood, and now is setting up a facial recognition system that will allow Big Brother to keep an eye on 1.4 billion citizens.
It’s simple: There is less crime in China than here because there is less freedom. Under China’s laughable justice system the accused are presumed to be guilty, unlike here. It’s no wonder the crime rate is low. Potential criminals are terrified.
India has freedom, and crime, but incarcerates fewer than the U.S. because its police force is hapless, inefficient and often corrupt.
That points to another reason America incarcerates so many — we have a comparatively efficient police force.
These reasons explain why we are No. 1.
There are roughly 2.2 million people incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons. That’s 0.96 percent of the population, 1 out of 100. Does that seem like too high a number?
If we lock up too many, what is the right number?
Have you ever been mugged? Raped? Assaulted? Has your home or car ever been broken into? Someone steal your bike or handbag or iPhone? Does 1 in 100 seem high?
In Philadelphia, we currently have a congressman, a sheriff and a D.A. in jail. Does 1 in 100 seem high?
Most of the prison population is not violent. There are burglars, counterfeiters, white collar thieves and drug offenders. Those serving time for drug offenses account for 45% of inmates, according to the Bureau of Prisons. That is a huge chunk and it brings us to the heart of the mass incarceration myth. Those people were jailed not for no reason, but for a real reason — they broke the law.
In the past decade, views on drug offenses have changed. Many localities are commuting sentences for many drug offenses, even those, amazingly, in which guns were used. Emptying the jails is motivated partly by social justice, and partly because money is saved when the prison population is reduced.
Just remember: Druggies were in jail for breaking existing law. It was not racial and it was not arbitrary.
Don’t confuse incarceration with the disparity of sentences handed out to white versus nonwhite defendants. That is real, it is provable, and has been verified. Various reforms are in the pipeline to smooth out the racial disparity in sentencing. That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the fallacious notion in some quarters that no one in jail belongs there.
(Someone who seems to not share that opinion is Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner; he will be featured in my next column.)
A small percentage is wrongly imprisoned people, yes, but just about everyone in jail deserves to be there.
Earlier I mentioned a pipeline, and I’m returning to that word to discuss the “school to prison pipeline” that you also have been told about.
It is more softheaded blather.
The “pipeline” is usually applied to minorities and it suggests that every child of color goes directly from high school to a correctional institution. The reality — the majority of minority kids do not go to jail — doesn’t seem to slow down the myth. It is repeated as if it were fact. It is not.
Schools are necessary. So are jails.