Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Pubdate: Aug. 30, 1998

Letters to the editor


Re "Fewer crimes, more inmates," Aug. 3: To the 1,244,554 prisoners in
America in 1997, add the jail population of approximately 550,000-plus,
roughly 100,000 locked-up juveniles and another 50,000 miscellaneous (e.g.,
institutionalized mental patients). The total confined population comes to
nearly 2 million. This is a rate of nearly 700 per 100,000 residents, not
445. It is 10 times higher than the rates in most other advanced countries.

We also have nearly 3 million probationers and parolees. Thus, nearly 5
million Americans are under the jurisdiction of the criminal courts.

In California, the total number of people locked in jails, juvenile halls
and mental facilities is about 246,000. If one includes probationers and
parolees, the number goes up to 630,000.

Everyone agrees that our prison population cannot continue to grow at the
present annual rate of 7.9 percent. If it did, the entire state population
would be either locked up or on parole/probation by 2051.

- --Tom Kando, Sacramento Professor of Sociology and Criminology
California State University, Sacramento

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Checked-by: Don Beck