- In America the incarceration rate has risen 2% each year. Crime rates have not risen at the same rate!
- Pennsylvania is a national leader in rates of incarceration.
- There are only two factors that influence incarceration rates: the number of people you put there and the length of time they stay there.
- In the three decades since 1972, there was first a slight increase in crime followed by an increase in the number of identified crimes and the capper is in the third decade the length of stay was increased - generally speaking.
- In 1972 the average length of incarceration in the U.S. was 15 months, it is not 5 times that.
- Presently, the same number of persons incarcerated in 1972 is the same as the number of persons serving life sentences in the U.S.A.
Community justice. Bringing the community around a victim and an offender - not to talk about a law that has been broken - but to work at naming harm that has occurred and how that harm can be repaired.
It saddens me as I speak with people here - I hear again and again - "Oh, you are doing such great work in Canada..." And I am forced to say, "Yeah but... we just initiated new mandatory minimum penalties for seven existing offences... and... Yeah but... we just increased the mandatory minimum penalties for nine existing offences... Yeah but... we just created two new offences...
Yeah but... and we will watch our prison populations grow... and thirty years down the road when we find ourselves in a similar place of being unable to pay for this monstrosity of an incarceration machine we will be scratching our heads as they are here now, wondering how we can get off the roller coaster... my advice - don't get on it in the first place!!