Stephen Fry is somehow able to make these horrible factoids pass through with ease and humor despite them being, well, horrible:
Here’s a quick summary of the points delivered:
- Three “strikes” and you get a life sentence, regardless of the triviality of the crime(s) involved. Example: Leandro Andrade is serving two consecutive life sentences merely for shoplifting 9 videotapes (collective value: $153).
- More than 1% of Americans are in jail (2.3 million out of 307 million).
- The US’s prison population is twice as large as South Africa’s, more than 3 times larger than Iran’s and 6 times bigger than China’s.
- That’s the highest incarceration rate in history.
- 1 in 30 men aged 20–34 are in prison.
- 1 in 9 Black males are in prison.
- More 17-year-old Black males are in prison than in college.
- Americans comprise 5% of the world population and 25% of the world’s prison population.
- US prison inmates produce ALL military helmets, ammunition belts and bulletproof vests; 9.93% of domestic paints; 36% of home appliances; 21% of office furniture.
- All of the previous, despite the fact that US law prohibits importing goods made through forced labor or prisoners.
- This loophole allows the US to compete with Mexican factories.
- And yet, refusing to work merits solitary confinement.
- In other words, the US has effectively reimplemented slavery.
And we should trust the system … why? Even the punishments are corrupted out-of-whack.