Everyone seems to be reeling from the numbers coming out of the Pew Research Center regarding the number of inmates incarcerated in the U.S. According to the report, your chances of being jailed are far better than they are for getting into a car accident or hitting the lottery today. The recently released figures include the startling facts:
2.3 million adults were in jail or prison at the start of 2008. This translates to one out of every 99.1 adults in an adult population of 230 million adults.
$49 billion dollars was spent by the 50 states in 2007, representing an increase of $39 billion from the comparative figure of $11 billion spent twenty years ago.
I’d like to know why. Are we getting better at catching criminals? Probably not. Are we benefiting at all from all the child-rearing guidance we’ve received over the past 20 years? Probably not. The people who read books are already better at raising children than the rest. Too many of the jailed are between the ages of 18 to 25. America has a problem with teens and young adults. By the time parents reach the age of 35, they’re already too slow and passé to catch the drift of the waves that teenagers and young adults are today riding. The lives of our kids remains a hidden world and it moves too fast. Life is so fast on American streets that even nice kids can slip down at a rate so fast the news could reach outer space in the time it takes for the average parent to kiss their kid goodbye. There’s probably no more dangerous roles in America than being a teenager or young adult between the ages of twelve and twenty eight (pick any numbers you like). Among all the political hysteria from some quarters about the brave sacrifices of American youth and their families in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is little acknowledgement of the dangers the kids face on the streets of America.