Latest Drug War News

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Shop online at and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating!

The Internet Our Website

Global and National Events Calendar

Bottoms Up: Guide to Grassroots Activism

Prisons and Poisons

November Coalition Projects

Get on the Soapbox! with Soap for Change

November Coalition: We Have Issues!

November Coalition Local Scenes

November Coalition Multimedia Archive

The Razor Wire
Bring Back Federal Parole!
November Coalition: Our House

Stories from Behind The WALL

November Coalition: Nora's Blog

December 7, 2006 - Journal Standard (IL)

Editorial: Incarceration Nation

The Issue: US Leads The World In Prison Population

Our View: We Can't Afford The Soaring Human And Financial Costs

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

With scant media coverage beyond an official press release, the U.S. Justice Dept. recently announced that a record 7 million people, or one in every 32 American adults are behind bars, on probation or on parole -- an increase of 2 million.

Of those 2.2 million are in prison or jail somewhere in the United States, giving us the highest rate of prisoners per 100,000 in the world.

Isn't it ironic then that, with so many prisons and prisons so wretchedly overcrowded nationwide -- Illinois' 130-year-old Menard prison houses 3,315 in space built for 1,983 -- we still can't get a new, $140 million prison open in Thomson?

But that's another editorial.

Those millions of prisoners and parolees, meanwhile, represent a fraction of real costs of what has become in the last few decades an incarceration nation -- for as offenders do time at $20,000 per year, they also leave behind fatherless children and families.

Lacking any means of support, they are far more likely to join welfare roles at taxpayer expense, or turn themselves to crime.

It's shameful for a democracy to lock-up one in every 32 adults.

Yet it's also a shame to have so much crime in America, so many innocent crime victims and so much glorification of violence, crime and lawlessness in popular culture.

And what of the estimated 1 million or so incarcerated Americans who are non-violent offenders, mostly drug addicts who spend years in prison conditions that can, paradoxically, make them violent or mentally-ill before they return to life on the street with their addictions, an ex-con's scarlet letter, and no means of support?

There are no easy answers.

Nor do there appear to be any meaningful attempts by our leaders to ask the right questions, or to try new approaches beyond costly prisons.

For the latest drug war news, visit our friends and allies below

We are careful not to duplicate the efforts of other organizations, and as a grassroots coalition of prisoners and social reformers, our resources (time and money) are limited. The vast expertise and scope of the various drug reform organizations will enable you to stay informed on the ever-changing, many-faceted aspects of the movement. Our colleagues in reform also give the latest drug war news. Please check their websites often.

The Drug Policy Alliance
Drug Reform Coordination Network
Drug Sense and The Media Awareness Project

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Questions or problems? Contact