Vineyardsaker has a provocative post on Ahmadinejad’s description of America as a “big prison.” He posts this chilling data (emphasis added):
Incarcerations per 100,000 population (sample):
1014____Texas (in 1999) (governor George W. Bush)
715_____United States of America (2001)
189_____Hong Kong (China)
142_____United Kingdom: England & Wales
125_____Republic of (South) Korea
Now surely, some regimes have more draconian prisons than the US. But consider the absolute reality of the situation. American prisons are also worse than some other nations’, with widespread rape, brutality, inter-prison gang violence. And we can’t forget that half or so of American prisoners are in there for non-crimes — victimless offenses against the state, such as drug, gun and tax violations. Then there are hundreds of thousands of property criminals and others who, for all their criminality, surely do not deserve being shoved in cages for years on end. America’s terribly sorry record on prisons alone would seem to put the lie to the idea of this country as the world’s greatest shining embodiment of freedom and human dignity. Before Americans talk about liberating the rest of the world, they should look at the rape rooms in their own neighborhoods, housing hundreds of thousands of non-violent enemies of the state.