Brief Exhibit B-2
In a report Wednesday in inmate populations at the end of 1993, the Justice Department said the incarcaration rate for prisoners sentenced to more than a year also set a record-- 351 per 100,000 residents.
For several years the United States has bee locking up a larger portion of its people than any other nation. In 1992, 455 out of every 100,000 Americans were in prison or jail; South Africa under its old government was next, at 311 per 100,000.
"Inmate populations have quadrupled in 20 years, but I don't know anyone now who feels safer than 20 years ago"< said Marc Mauer, assistant director of The Sentencing Project.
The politics of the crime bill shows the data don't have much impact on the debate," said Mauer. whose foundation-supported group advocates alternatives to imprisonment.
House and Senate crime bills, now headed for compromise negotiations, wold stiffen the penalties for dozens of crimes and provide billions of additional dollars for prison construction.
The reasons inmate populations exploded are clear, but there is considerable debate over what good that did.
The War on drugs produced stiffer federal and state sentences, mandatory minimum sentences and tighter parole policies for drug and violent crimes.
"Suddenly we've gone wild on incarcaration, but there is no clear impact on crime rates," said professor Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie-Mellon University.
The five states with the most prisoners at the end of 1993 and the percent increase from 1992 to 1993, plus number of federal prisoners:
California: 119,951; 9.5 percent
Texas:71,103; 6.2 percent
New York: 64,569; 4.6 percent
Ohia: 40,641; 5.9 percent
Federal: 89,586; 1.6 percent