Locking up the wrong people for the wrong reasons / by kevin murray

According to Wikipedia.org, the United States incarceration rate is 655 peoples per 100,000, of which the prison population in America is estimated to be 2,121,600.  In comparison, Japan, a country of 126.8 million peoples, has a total of 51,805 as their prison population, with an incarceration rate of just 41 peoples per 100,000.  This would seem to indicate that Japan is a much more civilized and a much more just country than America is, and that probably is a fair conclusion to draw.


There isn't any country in the world that has more power and more aggregate wealth than America, yet, America demonstrates by its exceedingly high crime rate that there must be something fundamentally wrong with this picture.  That fundamental wrong is that America is quite clearly a very unequal society, in which while having an incredible amount of wealth, way too much of that wealth, is held in the hands of the very, very few; and in addition, America has an embarrassingly high amount of poverty, often concentrated in low opportunity zones, as well as those impoverished people often suffering from ill education.


The very people that America specializes in incarcerating are their most impoverished citizens, who suffer from a lack of good employment opportunity, thwarted dreams, discrimination, and living within an infrastructure which provides them with very little of real substance.  Not too surprisingly, people that live on the wrong side of the railroad tracks, clearly do suffer from the stress of never being able to get ahead, along with having the innate knowledge that the game is most definitely fixed against them, of which, the justice system that they must contend with, is unequal, unsympathetic, and uncaring; thereby making them easy targets for the policing arm of this country to prey upon, for they do not have the resources to put up any sort of fight, and if they do fight back, they often suffer an ever more debilitating fate.


All this signifies that America, has for decades, concentrated far too much of its resources on incarcerating people for the basic crime of living in low income areas, that lack any ready means for a good and living wage; and punishing those trying to make some money, in an environment, that does not afford them a true and fair opportunity to make money, any other way than the means that they so often pursue.


Yet, all the crime that occurs in America, never goes away, no matter how many are arrested, processed, and incarcerated, because as long as there is a such a significant subsection of Americans that are exploited, abused, segregated, targeted, and discriminated against -- the crimes to be found and to thereby be charged against these unfortunate people, will never run dry.


So then, what America refuses to do is to take and to make a thorough investigation of all those that are exploiting the poor, as well as to examine thoroughly all those that create and are the beneficiaries of the conditions that make for the poor, of which, these people are seldom arrested or incarcerated.  Yet, if America was to concentrate fully its immense justice and political resources upon all those that are so clever in taking unfair advantage of their fellow citizens, as well as to level the playing field, so that all would have an equal chance at the table of prosperity, then its crime rate would surely come down, for the real criminals are specifically those that steal the lives, happiness, and freedom of their fellow citizens, for their own profit and selfishness.