I am a NC state employed college teacher and, unlike some, I completely understand that state employees will have to endure pay cuts and job loss as a result of the economy. What does bother me, is that our governor has allocated 10 million dollars to fund FOUR NEW PRISONS!!!
The graph below shows the federal prison population from 1914-2010. Note the stability prior to prohibition of alcohol, followed by a spike. The stats level out again when prohibition was repealed. In 1984, the Reagans got serious about the "war on drugs' and look at that sick, ever climbing, self perpetuating spike that follows.
This next graph shows US prisoners by offense. About half of the drug offenders are there for marijuana related offenses.
The next few graphs show the incredible bigotry towards black citizens inherent to the US legal system. Note the bizarre difference between the racial make up in prisons and the general population.
This last one shows NEW PRISONS in the US:
Ok, that one was a bust. The graphs come from an excellent site called "The November Coalition": http://www.november.org/graphs/
The US has more of it's citizens behind bars than any other country in the world. 92% are non-violent offenders:
This says it all really, war on drugs my ass.
At least America is #1 at something though!
The growth of the for profit prison system make those non-violent offenders a valuable commodity which makes our entire prison “system” and sentencing guidelines a really cruel and disgusting enterprise.
More proof of American exceptionalism – we're number one (waving oversized foam hand)