Many Americans are quite convinced that they live in one of the freest nations on the planet. Even if they don’t think that we are the freest, they still believe that our population has far more rights than the vast majority of the human race. However, these people tend to ignore our large prison population.
Can you really call it a free country when that nation restricts the freedoms of such a large percentage of its population, most whom are convicted of nonviolent crimes?
What’s more shocking, is that our prison population has reached an ominous milestone over the past few years. The number of Americans who were in jail and prison, or on probation and parole, was 7 million people by 2009. When you include former inmates who have since left our prison system, you wind up with 19 million people as of 2010. This number exceeds the 18 million people who endured the Soviet Gulag system, between 1929 and 1953.
While the conditions in the gulags were far worse than American prisons, our facilities still utilize slave labor and torture techniques like solitary confinement to keep their inmates in line. And with a per capita incarceration rate that might only be exceeded by countries like North Korea and Cuba, there’s no reason to believe that the United States is still among the free nations of the world.