US Incarceration

There are 2,293,157 people in US jails. That is the highest incarceration total in the world. Even China, falls to second place with 1,565,771. We have nearly twice the number of people in jail, though they have over a billion more people. If we look at it from a percentage of the population view, the US still far outdoes everyone, with 737 prisoners per 100,000 in population. Russia is second with 611, Saint Kitts and Nevis is third with 547 and then the US Virgin Islands 521.
Why the US leads the world in incarcerations will be the subject of a later post. Needless to say, many of those people are didn’t steal anything, they didn’t hurt anyone, weren’t violent in any way, didn’t risk hurting anyone, as a matter of fact, a vast majority of this group of offenders were highly productive members of society and would still be if let go today. If this group of non-violent people were to be let go, we would instantly end the overcrowding problem in jails and be able to keep thieves, murders, rapist, child molesters and the like in jail long and devote far more police effort to capturing and stopping those violent people that harm society.
However, there are a contractors and sub-contractors building, maintaining, staffing, providing food and other services to prisons who spend considerable money lobbying the government to keep that one segment in jail and to put more of that segment in jail. Sure not having them in jail would save billions, even if you chose to provide treatment for those people the savings would be in the billions (and you would treat more of them), but tax savings doesn’t go the politicians pocket, but lobby money does.