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Crime and Revolution, Prisons Don't Work

Crime And Revolution, Prisons Don't Work

Edited from MIM notes

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. government, the United States is number one in the world - number one in imprisonment.

More people are in prison and jail in the United States than in any other country.

More than one million people incarcerated makes for 426 per 100,000 residents as of June 30,1989. South Africa came in second with 333 and the Soviet Union came in third with 268.

In Europe the figures range from 35 to 120 per 100,000. Asian countries range from 21 to 140.

For Black males the figure is 3,109 in the United States and 729 for South Africa.

Since 1980 the nation has doubled its prison population, but overall crime fell 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, the United States spends $16 billion a year imprisoning people.

No this article is not from the twilight zone. The figures come from the U.S. government.

What comrades should learn from this is that once again the criminal justice system is not a solution to any problem. It can't stop crime. It's only bologna to say that putting people in prison deters them from committing crime.

It makes many middle-class people feel good to put people in prison, but it does not solve any problem.

Police Don't Work Either
The number of police that a city hires does not affect the crime rate. If a city hires more police than its neighboring city, it is not any less likely to have a higher crime rate than its neighbor.

Stated scientifically, there is no correlation between the number of police hired and the crime rate. Studies comparing different cities and studies of one city with different size police forces over time demonstrate that hiring police is not a solution to crime.

One might suspect that if there were no police or if everyone were a police officer it would make a difference. However, outside of these extremes it does not matter how many police there are. In the real world of the wide range of U.S. cities, it does not matter to the crime rate how. many police officers there are.

Hiring more police, like building more prisons and locking more people up, will not solve the crime problem.

Death Penalty Does Not Work
Statistics on different countries show that having the death penalty does not prevent murder. In fact, the exact opposite is the case. Countries with the death penalty are significantly more likely to have higher murder rates than countries without the death penalty.

Individual states within the United States that institute the death penalty also do not see any reduction in their murder rates.

The same is true for instituting the death penalty for certain kinds of murder. For example, instituting the death the death penalty in New York for cop-kill-. ing did not lower the cop-killing rate.

One theory for this is that when governments institute capital punishment, go to war and tolerate corporate violence like pollution or starvation, the population picks up a message that violence is legitimate in many circumstances.

Another danger is that societies like the United States waste all their time debating tougher law enforcement, the death penalty and budgets for police when none of these things are effective in reducing crime. Other societies may do a better job addressing the real causes of crime and hence wipe out more crime at the roots.

Amerikans have a very hard time thinking rationally about crime. Unlike other countries without a rugged individual frontier past with settlers on their own pieces of land, the United States in general has a strong belief in having people make it on their own.

Although the Euro-Americans committed genocide against Native-Americans to obtain farmland in the United States, the myth arose of the rugged frontierperson "making it" through hard work. That mythology carries forward in another way today in the United States: the United States has the largest middle class in the world. This class of people makes the United States even more individually minded than other capitalist countries in the world.

Crime is a political problem. It can not be solved by the current political system because politicians have to say and do what is popular with the middle class and upper class, the firm believers in blaming individuals for their lack of determination to work hard, uphold good morals ad nauseam. These middle and upper class people believe they have achieved their good position through their individual merits and hence criminals must be people without these merits who should be locked up.

Some people uphold the dogma that the working class in the imperialist countries like the United States are most advanced because they live in the most technically advanced societies. Yet it is the pervasive individualism of the U.S. working class that made it possible for George Bush to win his election merely by referring to a Black rapist in his political advertisements. Far from being advanced, the Amerikan working class falls prey to fascist anti-crime politics far more readily than most other working classes with the possible exception of the South African white working class.

In other societies the problem is not quite so bad, especially societies without a middle class of white workers who benefit from the plunder of the Third World. For more on this subject read J. Sakai's Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat and H.W. Edwards's book Labor Aristocracy: Mass Base For Social Democracy. These books explain why white workers as a group on average enjoy a different relationship to the means of production than other working classes. It is the absence of a white proletariat that partly explains the attitudes of the U.S. public toward crime.

People who want to go on tolerating murder, rape, teenage suicide, wife-beating, drug-dealing, alcoholism and property crimes of the criminally deprived - such people should go on blabbering about more cops; prisons and death penalties. People who really want to "get tough" on crime should get tough with their analysis first. They should work against the causes of crime and all other oppression.

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