So did you know that the state of California spends more money per year to keep one prisoner incarcerated than it pays in salary to a college professor of my rank? Given the outrageous numbers of non-violent, non-dangerous people kept behind bars on drug possession charges, imagine how easily the dying system of higher education in California could be saved if all these inmates were asked to go home and pay their own upkeep.
I’ve seen many explanations of who profits from this massive incarceration of people who should not be taking up $52,000 per year in taxpayer money just to prevent them from smoking weed or sniffing heroin. I haven’t, however, found a reasonable one.
For now, the only explanation that sounds at least somewhat reasonable is that this is a result of law enforcement agencies and prosecutor offices trying to drum up numbers that would testify to high performance. They must also have performance reports to fill like all of us, and the only way of demonstrating that they are more effective with every passing year is by inventing “crimes” that are super easy to investigate and prosecute. As the bureaucratic obsession with showing good numbers on paper grows, more people get incarcerated to get the reports padded.
I’m not seeing any other explanation behind the issue. Do you? Other than “evil members of the political party I do not support being their usual evil selves,” of course. That one I’ve heard, and it bores me to tears.