Nearly 3,000,000 Americans are currently behind bars. Roughly 1 of every 100 adults is locked up at the moment in this country. Compared with the rest of the world, it's a wonder we could ever consider ourselves the "Land of the Free." And the problem has gotten worse. The US prison population has quadrupled since 1980.
The US has 5% of the world's population, but has 25% of the world's prisoners. China, a nation with four times the US population has less than 2,000,000 in prison or jail. Our government is more willing to take away the liberty of its citizenry than almost any other in the world. If Thomas Jefferson were alive today and made aware of these disturbing truths, he might consider writing a new Declaration of Independence.
Further adding to the alarm, 70% of those incarcerated in the US are non-whites, with especially appalling numbers for black males. One in every nine African-American males is currently incarcerated. The graph above shows just how severe the problem is. If this were going on in another country - if one race was being so systematically incarcerated - we would call it a human rights violation.
Even without the racial component, the US prison system offers a disturbing outlook, when compared with the rest of the world. At no point in human history, has any nation approached the roughly 3,000,000 inmates number currently in place in the US. Countries such as China and India, with nearly four times out general population, manage to maintain order without locking up as many people as we do. The US has the world's highest rate of incarceration per capita, and it is not even close when compared to other industrialized nations. Many European nations have less than one fifth of the US incarceration rate, with Germany having the lowest. Recently, the Netherlands has had to start closing its prisons due to declining crime rates. Their emphasis on rehabilitation, rather than pure punishment, has helped reduce recidivism and reduce crime altogether. In the US, nearly half of prisoners released will be back within three years.
Paired with unparalleled police violence against citizens, one thing is clear: something is wrong with this picture, and significant reform is needed. In the meantime, I continue to defend one client at a time from an overreaching system in this self-described "land of the free." By making the system work for my clients, one at a time, I can make a major difference in individual lives. It is up to our judges, politicians and society at large to implement the major reforms necessary to help the US catch up to the rest of the world when it comes to dealing with crime.
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Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
t: 213-375-3775 | f: 213-375-3099
1200 Wilshire Blvd | Suite 406
Los Angeles, CA | 90017
By Nicholas Loncar
"Mr. Loncar has a great reputation in the legal community. I highly endorse his service to anyone in need of legal help."
-Attorney Andrew Leone
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