The Breakdown With Shaun King: We Are the Most Incarcerated Nation in the History of the World

Shaun King and Kendi K
Jul 2, 2020 - 3:57

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America makes the single most arrests per year.

We have more people currently incarcerated.

We have more total people jailed per year. 

We have the largest state prisons. 

We have the largest city jails.

We are the most incarcerated nation in the history of the world because that is how this system was built. 

This country is controlled by systems that place punishment over prevention. Black men receive life sentences for nonviolent drug charges, but have no access to rehab facilities. Parents are jailed for falsely reporting their address because the schools in their neighborhoods are so underfunded they cannot send their children there. 

Mass incarceration is so deeply embedded into the fabric of America that when you threaten to change or abolish it, the backlash is intense. Many cannot imagine a world without a heavy police presence. We have been desensitized and taught to believe that this is just the way things are, the way they’ve always been and the way they must continue to be. 

Many feel as though their safety is being threatened when demands to cut the prison population and defund the police are voiced, but the fact of the matter is that police are not keeping people safe. Despite our inflated prison system, crime rates still persist.he United States was named among the top 10 most violent countries in the world for women, alongside war-torn Syria and Afghanistan in 2018. The majority of crimes that police do become involved in are not even violent ones. 


A recent study by New Orleans-based crime analysts Jeff Asher and Benjamin Horwitz reveals that only 4 percent of calls police receive and respond to are violent crimes. The remaining 96 percent is everything else, including traffic violations, incidents involving homeless people, and mental health crises. Armed police officers enter these nonviolent situations and make them violent. They are the perpetrators of brutality. We do not need them, we need drastically improved social services.

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