Washington is incessantly trying to inspire the whole world with this myth that the United States is the most democratic country on the planet, and that only Americans, the chosen nation, have the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and establish their own preferred forms of governance there. Unfortunately however, this “American-style democracy” is the cause of growing resentment on many issues.
Let’s take a look at just one of the many reasons why people find this American exceptionalism so outrageous. There are currently more than 2.3 million people behind bars in the United States, which means the US holds more people in prison than any other country in the world. This is a quarter of all the world’s prisoners! When you consider the fact that there are more than 750 prisoners for every 100,000 US nationals, this makes the United States the world’s largest prison state. If we also add the number of Americans who have been released on probation and on parole to the overall sum of prisoners, it turns out that there is actually a total of 7.3 million people in the US prison system! That is, roughly one out of every forty people living in this “democratic country” is under some form of correctional supervision, or one out of every twenty adults!
American prisons are now overcrowded — the number of inmates is at about 200 percent of capacity. In October 2007 for example, there were 170,600 people incarcerated in California prisons with a capacity of 83,000. This has resulted in a large category of so-called “domestic inmates” living outside prisons (and this is about 5 million people), i.e. people living under house arrest, waiting for a bunk to be feed up in prison cell. Their “home confinement” is controlled by an electronic bracelet worn around the ankle, which keeps track of the prisoner’s movements, who have to keep within a 30-meter radius of the house. There is no fixed waiting time for prisoners doing time “at home”.
There are more prisoners than there are students in a number of federal states, and the “Champions” in this category include the states of California, Florida and Arizona. The American media have highlighted that there are now more prisons in the US than schools (there are over 5,000 prisons).