Justice Dept. : programs to cut down prison populations

With the nation’s prison population in decline — albeit slowly — the Justice Department is hoping they can continue the trend with an additional $217 million in funding to combat recidivism.

The nation’s law enforcement branch is asking for a total of $8.8 billion for the nation’s prison populations, with a $146 million increase from last year focused on preventing recidivism and helping inmates reenter society.

The agency hopes to “contain incarceration costs over the long term by facilitating inmates’ transition into society in order to reduce recidivism rates, increase public safety and strength communities,” a statement said.

Those efforts would include more vocational training for inmates, an increase in the number of staff focused on mental health, and efforts to support inmates reconnecting with their families before being released.

The department hopes the focus on stopping inmates from committing more crimes will help combat the overcrowding of the nation’s prison population. There are currently 210,000 inmates in the U.S., according to the federal Bureau of Prisons. The U.S. is considered to have the highest prison population in the world, roughly 25 percent of all inmates….

By Phillip Swarts – The Washington Times –

Victimless Crime Constitutes 86% of The Federal Prison Population

When we talk about the war on drugs, which is increasingly turning into a real war, we often overlook the fact that the “criminals” involved in the drug trade aren’t actually violating anyone’s rights. When a drug dealer is hauled before a judge, there is no victim standing behind the prosecutor claiming damages. Everyone participating in the drug trade does so voluntarily. However, there are a lot more crimes for which this is also true. Millions upon millions of Americans have been thrown into cages without a victim ever claiming damages. It is important to look at the burden this mass level of incarceration places upon our society.

In light of that, let us review some statistics which demonstrate just how destructive the mass incarceration of victimless criminals has become to our society. The 2011 federal prison population consisted of:
•Drugs 50.7%
•Public-order 35.0%,
•Violent 7.9%
•Property 5.8%
•Other .7%

Drug offenses are self-explanatory as being victimless, but so too are public-order offenses, which also fall under the victimless crimes category. Public order offenses include such things as immigration, weapons charges, public drunkenness, selling lemonade without a license, dancing in public, feeding the homeless without a permit etc..

The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world. Presently 756 per 100,000 of the national population is behind bars. This is in contrast to an average world per-capita prison population rate of 145 per 100,000 (158 per 100,000 if set against a world prison population of 10.65 million), based on 2008 U.N. population data. In other words, the U.S. incarcerates its citizens at a rate that is 5 times the world average.

In 2008, according to the Department of Justice, there were 7,308,200 persons in the US corrections system, of whom 4,270,917 were on probation, 828,169 were on parole, 785,556 were in jails, and 1,518,559 were in state and federal prisons. This means that the U.S. alone is responsible for holding roughly 15% of all the prisoners in the world.

By Michael Suede – Libertarian News –