I’m back from my blogging hiatus. I hope you enjoyed the break as much as I did.
I’m going to continue with our trip to the Eastern State Penitentiary, in Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Once we went outside, we came to a display that touched on some important issues – crime and punishment statistics in the US.
It’s hard to argue with the stats and the visual effect of those stats. And no, this is not alternative facts or spinning or posturing for partisan political points. It’s just the stats. There was no argument being made about what to do about the stats or even that the information was bad. It just was. The first image above shows a breakdown of incarceration rates by race. The darker the color relates to the darker the skin color.
Likewise, here’s another telling stat presented visually:
It shows the number of incarcerations per 100,000 people in each country in the world, ranked from highest at the top to lowest at the bottom. The US is by far the highest on the list.
Apparently, we think it’s a good idea to lock people up for a vast number of reasons.
When I look at this it tells me something else about our culture – that we don’t trust one another. It’s not just incarceration rates that show this, it’s much bigger than that, but this is a nice easy visual that shows this for what it is.
Somehow punishing people doesn’t seem to be working – unless you think locking up a significant portion of the population is a good idea.
But I’m not dumb – doing a complete flip to rehabilitation wouldn’t work here. At least not right away – our culture doesn’t support it. A policy is only as good as the people implementing it and the culture that backs it up with attitude, societal beliefs, resources, and relationships. We don’t have the will to invest in any of those things here as the situation stands right now. At least not from what I can observe. Until enough people see that our current system of criminal justice isn’t working for our society, any band-aid fixes that we do will have limited results.