December 28th, 2010

Save the Budget, Save the State
In the spirit of Jonathan Swift, who also found the state to be very foolish and useless…
…and to point up the stupidity of caging innocent, harmless peopele because of the whim of some power-damaged politicians.

Just about anyone who is awake more than three hours a day knows that the governments at all levels of governing are broke.  You can only spend money like water for so long, before you run out of the stuff, especially when you are relying on the use of force to keep the supply of money coming in from those productive serfs out there.

But there is a simple—nay, elegant and simple—remedy for these budget problems.  Clean out the prisons.1

Yes, you read that right.  More than half of the prisoners are being held in captivity not because they are dangerous to anyone, and not because they have threatened to blow up anything, but because they did something that some government person whose pension is now in danger did not like, or failed to do something that some government employee insisted that they do.  But these peaceful, harmless prisoners never hurt anyone, and they have been put in cages because some government employee—whose pension is now melting away—got into a snit.

So, government employees, here’s the answer: let those 1,300,000 harmless, potentially tax-paying people out of prison, and most of them will go back to work, return to their families, pay some taxes, and never, ever hurt anyone else, just as they were doing before you kidnapped them and locked them away.  Don’t parole them, which still costs a lot: just set them free.

If you do a bit of simple math, you will find that 1,300,000 people set free to fend for themselves, instead of consuming tax dollars at the conservative rate of  $25,000 per year per person, means that if those harmless, non-violent people were released, it would save taxpayers —are you ready for this?—$32,500,000,000.00, give or take a million.  That’s a cool Thirty-Two Billion, Five Hundred Million US Federal Reserve Notes.  Real money, sort of,  even when corrupt politicians and bureaucrats count it.

That would fund a lot of state and federal pensions, and I have not factored in the income taxes, social security taxes, and other taxes these emancipated workers would pay, nor have I factored in their economic contributions to their communities, where many of them were waitresses, bakers, clerks, doctors, dentists, carpenters, mechanics, and a few lawyers, before they were locked up.  They will make money!  They will pay taxes!  They will save the government pensions, because more tax dollars can go to the benefit of the bureaucrats, and less to the prison systems.

How much more elegant can it get?

Iloilo Marguerite Jones  28 December 2010


1 “The average annual operating cost per state inmate in 2001 was $22,650, or $62.05 per day; among facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it was $22,632 per inmate, or $62.01 per day.”[57]

Housing the approximately 500,000 people in jail awaiting trial who cannot afford bail costs $9 billion a year.[58] Most jail inmates are petty, nonviolent offenders. Twenty years ago most nonviolent defendants were released on their own recognizance (trusted to show up at trial). Now most are given bail, and most pay a bail bondsman to afford it.[59] 62% of local jail inmates are awaiting trial.[8]

To ease jail overcrowding over 10 counties every year consider building new jails. As an example Lubbock County, Texas has decided to build a $110 million megajail to ease jail overcrowding. Jail costs an average of $60 a day nationally.[59][60] In Broward County, Florida supervised pretrial release costs about $7 a day per person while jail costs $115 a day. The jail system costs a quarter of every county tax dollar in Broward County, and is the single largest expense to the county taxpayer.[61]

The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world.[4][5] The U.S. incarceration rate on June 30, 2009 was 748 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents, or 0.75%.[6] The USA also has the highest total documented prison and jail population in the world.[4][7][8]

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) 7,225,800 people at yearend 2009 were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole — about 3.1% of adults in the U.S. resident population, or 1 in every 32 adults.[9][10]

As of June 2009, 2,297,400 were incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails.[6][2] In addition, there were 92,854 held in juvenile facilities as of the 2006 Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (CJRP), conducted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.[11][12]


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