The Short List 11/2/12
via Upworthy: How The United States Is Reinventing The Slave Trade (video)
Upworthy shares a video segment from “Quite Interesting” a T.V series broadcast through the BBC and hosted by Stephen Fry. The hosts marvel at the staggering number of adults incarcerated in the U.S (1% of the population or three million people) and then go on to share this tidy little factoid: “They [prisoners in the U.S] produce,for example, 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, I.D tags, and other items for uniforms; 93% of domestically produced paints, 36% of home appliances… which allows the U.S to compete with factories in Mexico…it is a bit amazing isn’t it?”
Back in March of this year, the NY Times published a fascinating (read: frightening) article on federal prisons receiving contracts from the government to enlist the imprisoned to produce military garments, “Private Businesses Fight Federal Prisons for Contracts.” (NY Times, March 2012). The entity who received the contract, Federal Prison Industries, a government owned corporation, “uses prisoners for labor, paying them 23 cents to $1.15 an hour.” Not only is this a problem of persons working for sub-par wages, it raises issues of jobs being diverted from productive American industries and workers.
A new report by the Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice: “California Youth Crime Plunges to All-Time Low” by Mike Males, Ph.D and Senior Research Fellow
The title speaks for itself. From the introduction: “New figures for 2011 released by the California Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Statistics Center show arrests of youths under age 18 fell by 20% from 2010 to 2011, reaching their lowest level since statewide statistics were first compiled in 1954.” Hurrah! The largest contribution to this decrease?– “a drop of 9,000 in youths’ low-level marijuana possession arrests under a new state law reducing that offense from a misdemeanor to an infraction.”
New project from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice: California Sentencing Institute
The CJCJ has compiled a wealth of statistics detailing the different levels at which California’s 58 counties send their residents to correctional institutions. The site is superbly well designed and user friendly with an interactive map, easy to read graphs, and data which can be filtered by offense, race, and gender.