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Just Say Know


just say know.

1. The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population, yet about 25% of its prisoners.

2. The incarceration rate in America is the highest in the world. We lock up more of our own people than any other country on the planet. The “land of freedom” is the world’s jailer.

3. The U.S. prison population is about 2.4 million people: nearly as big as the city of Chicago and twice as big as Dallas.

4. The number of people behind bars in America has grown four-fold (quadrupled) since 1980- despite the fact that violent crime rates have gone down.

5. Approximately 1 of every 99 adults in America will go to sleep tonight behind bars.

6. Our prison population of 2.4 million people means 2.4 million people who are clothed, housed, fed, doctored, monitored, and given recreational and work opportunities every hour of every day of every year – by the government.

7. About 14% of America’s prison population is in federal prisons.

8. “The single largest driver in the increase in the federal prison population since 1998 is longer sentences for drug offenders.”

9. “The average inmate in minimum-security federal prison costs $21,000 a year. The average inmate in maximum-security federal prisons costs $33,000 a year.”

10. “Federal prison costs are expected to rise to 30 percent of the Department of Justice’s budget by 2020.”

11. The most serious charge against more than half of the country’s federal prison population is a drug law offense. Only 4% are behind bars for robbery. 1% for murder.

12. America spends more than $51 billion every year in the war on drugs.

13. 1.6 million people were arrested in America in 2012 for NON-VIOLENT drug law violations.

14. Two out of every three people behind bars in state prisons on a drug offense are black or Hispanic, even though these groups use and sell drugs at similar rates as whites.

15. With big investors on Wall Street, the prison industrial complex is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in America.

16. The use of prison labor is booming as well, especially in providing clothing and supplies to the U.S. military. In 2013, federal inmates sewed more than $100 million worth of military uniforms.

17. A 2012 report found that “All told, nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing.”

18. This is not about right or left. This is not about Republican vs. Democrat. This is about freedom. America is sick. Rotting from the inside out. We have turned our backs on her, and we have ignored her cries of pain. But it is not too late. We have the cure. We have always had the cure right here in our own hands. It’s called liberty. Demand it. Now. Enough is enough.

Best-selling author and historian Coy Barefoot is the host of Inside Charlottesville.