“While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
― Eugene V. Debs
Way too often I hear somebody wishing that a particular person get thrown in jail, or get a longer sentence, or not be released from prison. I know it can be a figure of speech to say that a person “belongs behind bars” but it’s meant literally too. The target might be a person in the news, or a neighbor, or a politician, but it doesn’t matter. Treating the issue of imprisonment in the US either flippantly or with unthinking acceptance is dangerous.
Given that the USA incarcerates more people than any other nation, perhaps we could claim that we are uniquely qualified here to judge the institution? I don’t know about that, but let’s take a closer look.