Guantanamo Bay Michelle Shephard/ZumaPress

身陷囹圄的美国经济

伯克利—美国拥有5%的世界人口和25%的狱中人口——大约220万人,五倍于1980年。美国成年人中每100人就有一人深陷囹圄——这一人均比例为世界之最,比西欧或其他民主国家高5—10倍。社会和经济成本也同样高昂。

近几十年来美国监狱人口的激增是惩罚性预防犯罪措施大行其道的结果,包括更加严格的毒品惩罚和强制性最低刑期,其背后有数量日益增加的警察和执法队伍作为支持。除了警察队伍扩张所带来的财务成本和司法体系压力增加之外,每年有600亿美元花在了州和联邦监狱经费上,而20年前这一数字是120亿。除此之外,囚犯(其中许多因为非暴力犯罪而入狱)及其家庭和社区也承受了巨大的成本——其中穷人、受教育程度低下者、非洲裔和拉丁裔美国人以及精神病人负担尤重。

也许最糟糕的部分是人们所期待的美国“严刑峻法”方针所应有的效果并没有实现。事实上,高入狱率和低犯罪率之间相关性很弱。

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