Friday, March 10, 2017


The United States has one percent of its adult population locked up behind bars. One out of four prisoners IN THE WORLD is behind bars in the US. Over 50 percent of those incarcerated in a federal prison is convicted of a crime related to drugs. Here is a visual representation of the prison population. Approximately 16 percent of those incarcerated in America suffer from a mental illness. Here is an article from the International Herald detailing the shocking size of the US penal population. We have not always been this incarcerated. This link shows what offenses Americans are being incarcerated for; note how few are actually violent offenders.   Are these statistics surprising? How does this affect our society? How should we begin working to change this dynamic, or is the system fine the way it is?  Do you see how the relativity of deviance affects this? As attitudes change, laws change, and that affects who is incarcerated and how society deals with it.
There was a drastic surge in imprisonment that began during the 1980s when drugs went from being a medical problem to a criminal problem. 

See this story from the NYTimes by Audra Burch about Rob Sullivan.  It that highlights how agents of socialization play a role in the life of many who are imprisoned as well as the effects of drugs and addiction on the prison system and how the private troubles of those who are incarcerated are also public issues.

Here is a link to the prison in the episode of 30 Days in Prison. Why aren't more prisons providing the assistance to inmates to turn their life around? Wouldn't it benefit all of society and all of us if inmates received help to adjust to life on the outside of prison?


  1. I think it's unbelievable that the most advanced country has 1 in four inmates in the world. This is what happens when afraid public gives more power to legislators. People are afraid of drugs, gangs, violence, and a ton of other things. So these people vote for more punitive laws, including ideas like 3 strikes your out type laws. These only punish the people that made a small mistake, such as theft or robbery. The people that do awful stuff like rape, murder, and sell drugs are already getting huge sentences, but now the people that get caught with a miniscule amount of marijuana are getting life sentences. We need to stop being afraid, and stop this wave of tough on crime legislation!

  2. This makes me so angry! I really think that our prisoners clearly need help adjusting once they are out of jail. Like in the movie Shawshank Redemtion, the guards treated every prisoner like crap and the older ones ended their own lives once getting out of jail because they couldn't adjust. However, it is just a movie but I think it still has relivance today.

  3. This morning on CNN they were talking about legalizing marijuana! The reason for that is everything we talked about in class like how much money it is costing us and overcrowding which is really sad! i hope the states do something about this and possibly legalize it tax it and not only take a lot of people out of prison but give the state some money!

  4. i think its so sad to think that were living in "the land of the free" and yet 25% of americans are in jail. but at the same time, i feel as if SO MUCH stuff is illegal, that it leads teens to want to rebel and do half the things they do, just because they cant legally

  5. I would like to thank the Reagan Administration for keeping my neighborhood cleaner than before, like i said on my blog. Since when do criminals get rights. Does the system need reform...yes, for example criminals being allowed to appeal their cases on my dollar is a problem. This is the land of the free and if you do something to break the law and harm society, then you should be isolated from it. I don't understand why somehow we are trying to justify drug dealers all of a sudden! this shocks me, these people broke the law, and i hate big government as much as the next person, but I think that it's rediculous to say that the Reagans started the war on marijuana as if it's a bad thing... if that's the case then we need to reform the education system before the prison system!

  6. TO me, that statistic about the mentally ill in jail is VERY surprising. I have always thought of jail, and mental instituions as seperate, and now that I know they sometimes are not, I feel that they SHOULD be. For example, in the movie, Travis needed help. He did not need punishment - he had a sickness and clearly needed some education to get over it. He should have been in an institution the whole time - not jail where there are still things available such as drugs or links to drugs. Putting mentally ill people in jails is not doing anything to help their situation. It just proves the revolving door theory..

  7. HI SAL :)
    okay so yesterday, I was listening to my ipod & i saw this song by lil wayne called "don't get it."
    the song is like ten minutes long & swears ALOT...
    but it relates to what we talked about prison/drugs.
    everything you taught us, lil wayne talks about it in this song.
    i just thought i would let you know lol

  8. I find it rather heartbreaking that lots of people are being imprisoned in "the land of the free". while watching 30 days with Morgan, I was just shocked at how people acted in prison and it was just sad to see that some of them have been in their since they were barely teenagers.