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A Matter of Fact

A 1988 study of California prisoners concluded that there is a strong positive correlation between prisoners' visiting and their successful transition to the free world. Of those who received 12 or more visits in their last year of incarceration, 68.5 percent had "satisfactory outcomes" (presumably meaning no arrests or reincarceration) compared to 38.7 percent for those who had received no visits.
In its last term, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 666, which curtails the need for a search warrant in cases of drug interdiction. When H.R. 666 was being debated, Rep. Melvin Watt of North Carolina introduced an amendment that consisted of the exact language of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The House, given this opportunity to vote on the 4th Amendment, defeated it by a vote of 303-121.

A 1992 study by Michael Radelet of the University of Florida and Hugo Bedau of Tufts University, "In Spite of Innocence," identified 23 cases in which innocent people have been executed in the U.S. since 1900. Over 400 were wrongfully convicted of capital crimes during the same period.

A recent survey of prison wardens revealed that wardens believe that one to three percent of death row prisoners are innocent. There are about 3,000 people on death row in the U.S. scheduled for execution. If 1-3 percent were innocent, 30-90 innocent people could be executed.

According to John Challenger, president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a firm that keeps track of layoffs, "The pace of layoffs is way ahead of last year at this time." Job cuts across the U.S. had already reached 230,350 by the end of May 1996, which is a 34 percent increase over the pace of layoffs in the first five months of 1995.

U.S. credit card debt increased from $286 billion at the end of 1994 to $364 billion at the end of 1995. The revolving credit card indebtedness of the average U.S. household is $4,600.

In 1982 there were 380,252 bankruptcies in U.S. courts, of which about 72 percent were private cases (as opposed to businesses or corporations). In 1995 there were 926,601 bankruptcies, of which over 94 percent were private cases.

According to a 1996 UN report, the U.S. is among the world's leaders in income disparity, in a category with countries such as Brazil and Guatemala. The income of the top 20 percent of Americans is nine times as much as the bottom 20 percent.

Greater Los Angeles leads the nation in bank robberies, with 1,200 bank heists in 1994. Notorious bank robber Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks. "Because that's where the money is," replied Sutton.

"There can be no equal justice where the kind of a trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has." -- S.Ct. Justice Hugo Black, 1956.

More than 39 percent of CA state prisoners serving third-strike sentences were sentenced in LA County, and about 44 percent of all second-strikers in CA prisons came from LA County.

There are 33 male and 3 female Conservation Camps operated by the California Department of Corrections (CDC). The average prisoner working in a CDC camp is paid 25-75 cents an hour. The CA Department of Forestry estimates a $70 million annual savings from using convict labor.

Both California and Florida currently spend more on "corrections" than they spend on higher education.

The number of guards and supervisory staff employed in Texas prisons more than doubled from 12,187 in 1990 to 26,072 in 1995.

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