Tallahassee, Fla. - The U.S prison industrial complex is spiraling out of control as the prison crisis in America grows to pandemic proportions. While accounting for slightly less than 5 percent of the total global population, the U.S. incarcerates roughly 25 percent of people imprisoned worldwide.
Startling statistics from a nation that proclaims to be "the home of the free."
The Prison Policy Initiative reports:
The U.S. incarcerates 716 people for every 100,000 residents, more than any other country. In fact, our rate of incarceration is more than five times higher than most of the countries in the world. Although our level of crime is comparable to those of other stable, internally secure, industrialized nations, the United States has an incarceration rate far higher than any other country.
Nearly all of the countries with relatively high incarceration rates share the experience of recent large-scale internal conflict. But the United States, which has enjoyed a long history of political stability and hasn’t had a civil war in nearly a century and a half, tops the list.
If we compare the incarceration rates of individual U.S. states and territories with that of other nations, for example, we see that 36 states and the District of Columbia have incarceration rates higher than that of Cuba, which is the nation with the second highest incarceration rate in the world.
Now, what we are learning is that the United States is not just imprisoning people at an outrageous pace, but that men and women are dying in these prisons at all-time highs, often at the hands of guards, in the most awful and brutal ways imaginable. The state of Florida, it appears, is ground zero for the deaths of prisoners, and the crisis is so deeply corrupt and out of hand that it needs immediate national intervention.
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Florida, in 2014, recorded an all-time high of 346 inmate deaths inside of their prisons. Although the prison population has remained relatively steady the past five years, the death toll of prisoners reached an all-time high for the state in 2014.
Hundreds of these deaths inside of prison walls, from 2014 and previous years, are now being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice due to the suspicious and systemic nature of the deaths, almost all at the hands of law enforcement officers.
This past September, thirty two law enforcement officials, including prison guards and officers, were fired across the state due to dozens of cases of negligence, abuse, corruption, and death, according to Reuters.
Simply losing ones job over allegations of poisoning, gassing, and beating inmates to death is not justice. These rogue law enforcers need to have an example made out of them. They should not only lose their jobs but they should be indicted, convicted of murder and given the maximum penalty allowed.
These agents of the state, given a great responsibility, have shown themselves to willingly prey upon the most vulnerable in our society and must be held accountable for their actions for justice to be served.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.