Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was harshly criticized Tuesday for claiming the U.S. has a “major under-incarceration problem,” regardless of the nation’s alarmingly giant jail inhabitants and world-leading price of imprisonment.
“We have a major under-incarceration problem in America. And it’s only getting worse,” tweeted Cotton, citing a CNN article about rising crime in main U.S. cities all through 2020. The article explores a 33% enhance in homicides final yr, which might be attributable to any number of combined factors, together with the lethal world pandemic, a devastated financial system, excessive unemployment, entrenched poverty, civil unrest, modifications in policing and mistrust of police, rising homelessness and surging gun sales.
But in line with Cotton, the answer to all that’s placing extra individuals in jail. His concept angered critics, lots of whom pointed to raised makes use of of sources to cut back crime and domesticate wholesome communities, and famous America’s problematic incarceration statistics.
America has the world’s highest incarceration price, far forward of different industrialized nations. In 2020, that metric stood at 655 prisoners per 100,000 individuals. The U.S. is adopted by El Salvador, Turkmenistan and Thailand.
America’s excessive incarceration charges have additionally disproportionately affected minority populations. Black Americans are considerably over-represented in jail based mostly on inhabitants. Latinx Americans additionally make up bigger shares of the jail inhabitants in contrast with the U.S. inhabitants as a complete.
Cotton, a longtime ally of Donald Trump and a staunch conservative, has made his “under-incarceration” argument earlier than. In 2016, he led the opposition to a bipartisan effort to implement sweeping prison justice reforms.
His newest feedback sparked rapid backlash on-line.
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