American Gulag

You know what you do not say anything Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, taking part in the election debates? About the U.S. prison system. How else to explain to Americans, and along with the international community, why in the country's leader of democracy and freedom in the world, in places of detention are more than 6 million people, more than in the Soviet Union during the era of Stalin's purges? If all of these prisoners were housed in the same detention center in the United States would form a new city.

In America, there was the Gulag? One could take it for a symmetric response to the U.S. from China for criticism for human rights violations. But it is not. It's about the data presented in the study, published American edition of New Yorker. And the problem is not only in the number of prisoners, but in extremely harsh conditions in U.S. prisons. Around 50,000 prisoners are held incommunicado, without having the right to communicate with anyone. They are only allowed to exercise alone for one hour a day. Life is no better than the rest. According to some estimates, about 70,000 prisoners are abused each year, but the authorities turn a blind eye to the problem. U.S. still leads by one measure: Hundreds of teenagers were sentenced to life imprisonment, which does not go to any comparison with the situation in other countries of the so-called "free world."

Without a doubt, the United States won the Cold War, but now it seems the authorities have declared war on his people. In 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States and the Soviet Union decided to strangle by requiring a multi-billion dollar cost of the arms race and the pressure exerted from the outside by means of various types of transactions (since the war in Nicaragua to the war in Afghanistan) in the United States in the conclusion contained 220 people for every 100,000 residents. Two decades later, in 2010, the country that won the Cold War, the rate of the number of prisoners per capita has grown three times — 741 people per 100,000 inhabitants. For comparison, in Norway for every 100,000 inhabitants account for 66 prisoners in Spain — 144. The racial problem in the U.S. is still very acute. The President of the United States involved in the pre-election debates — black. But the probability of ending up in prison for the representatives of the black population is seven times higher than for those who belong to the white race. Slavery was abolished in the United States, but statistics show that the total number of sentenced blacks contained in prison and received parole exceeds the number of slaves in the country by 1850.

The economic aspect of the issue — not less scandalous. The prison system in the United States, which is under the control of private companies, that is, commercial organizations, has turned into a lucrative business.

A group of interested parties with significant influence in the upper echelons of power, opposes leniency, especially with regard to drug traffickers, which guarantee a steady stream of "customers."

Consider the example of California, which is mired in debt, but allocates 50 thousand dollars a year for the maintenance of one prisoner. This figure is seven times the amount allocated for each student. Priorities are clear: 20 years ago the cost of higher education in California were two times higher than the cost of maintaining in prison. Today, the opposite is true: the cost of incarceration ($ 10 billion nearly 150,000 inmates) twice the cost of higher education.

It is believed that the traditional American values — motherhood and apple pie, as well as "the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," as stated in the Declaration of Independence. This week, U.S. presidential candidate of the Republican Party Mitt Romney unveiled at last, the data on the incomes in 2011. Now we know that he has earned in the past year, 13.7 million dollars, of which he gave to the budget as taxes only 2 million. The American dream, the Statue of Liberty, the city on the hill! Fund all this at the expense of tax payments at a minimum rate equal to 14%? it is, indeed, a miracle. Perhaps, therefore, on banknotes U.S. says: «In God we trust» (We believe in God.) But for those who have gone astray, provided the prison system. To blame the progressive tax scale.

«El Pais», Spain

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