Islam is criticized whenever it suggests any legislation about punishments in different social jurisdictions. However, the West has not been shy in punishing any crime in extreme and draconian fashion, whenever it so chooses. Given a system based on prison sentences, the Western civilization offers the added bonus of Prison rape or its constant fear as additional punishment for crimes of all severity and for some that can be capital punishment given the risk of HIV infection:
Prison rape commonly refers to the rape of inmates in prison by other inmates or prison staff. Less commonly, both female and male corrections officers and other staff have been raped by prison inmates as the rapes almost exclusively occur in the shower rooms. Rape committed in prison is thought to be more about power and control than sex. The experience of rape can be psychologically worse than regular violence, and inmates may use rape to dominate other inmates. In 2001, Human Rights Watch estimated that at least 140,000 inmates in the United States had been raped while incarcerated, and there is a significant variation in the rates of prison rape by race. Just Detention International[ estimate that young men are five times more likely to be attacked and that the prison rape victims are ten times more likely to contract a deadly sexually transmitted disease. In contrast to these high figures, a meta-analysis published in 2004 found a prevalence rate of 1.91% with a 95% confidence interval between 1.37–2.46%.
Eight percent of sentenced prisoners in federal prisons in 2009 were in for violent crimes. 52.4% of sentenced prisoners in state prisons at yearend 2008 were in for violent crimes. The rest are being punished for non-violent crimes.
Violent crime was not responsible for the quadrupling of the incarcerated population in the United States from 1980 to 2003. Violent crime rates had been relatively constant or declining over those decades. The prison population was increased primarily by public policy changes causing more prison sentences and lengthening time served, e.g. through mandatory minimum sentencing, “three strikes” laws, and reductions in the availability of parole or early release. These policies were championed as protecting the public from serious and violent offenders, but instead yielded high rates of confinement for nonviolent offenders. Nearly three quarters of new admissions to state prison were convicted of nonviolent crimes. Only 49 percent of sentenced state inmates were held for violent offenses. Perhaps the single greatest force behind the growth of the prison population has been the national “war on drugs.” The number of incarcerated drug offenders has increased twelvefold since 1980. In 2000, 22 percent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges.
Islam simply disallows all mood and thought altering drugs including alcohol!
At the outset let me say that this knol is not about violation of separation of Mosque-Church and State, which I firmly believe in. My premise is that the All Knowing God has given us certain guiding principles for all spheres of our life, which we can suitably translate into secular language and expressions for the benefit of the non-Muslims in our civic and political discourse.
The punishment should be proportionate to the crime in general. However, at times the punishment can have a deterrent value to cleanse the society of certain problems and in this area the West is certainly familiar with the three strikes rule and strong punishments against any acts of terrorism or hate crimes to eradicate these problems from the human society.
In a recent interview of a Muslim on Fox News channel, Bill O’Reilly questioned him about the following verse:
“Men are guardians over women because Allah has made some of them excel others, and because they (men) spend of their wealth. So virtuous women are those who are obedient, and guard the secrets of their husbands with Allah’s protection. And as for those on whose part you fear disobedience, admonish them and leave them alone in their beds, and chastise them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Surely, Allah is High, Great.” (Al Quran 4:35)
In this interview Bill O’Reilly very slyly refused the Muslim any comparison with other scriptures or cultures. One should never accept such a premise as nothing can be understood or judged without context or comparison. Islam shines when it is compared and contrasted with the limitations of the Bible and the Western civilization.
This verse could raise two questions for the critics, firstly can one gender be guardian or leader in a marriage or not? For that I would just suggest that in all different life situations anywhere in the world some sort of leadership structure is maintained, be it business, place of worship or recreational activity, for the sake of smooth performance of the activity and discipline, leadership is necessary. How silly of the West to insist on leaving the household without any clear structure and introducing potential for chaos and disorder. No wonder, we are seeing a marriage meltdown in the West and a race towards a completely fatherless society, where majority of the children are now being born to unmarried mothers, in some parts of USA and Western societies are unable to maintain their populations without immigrations.
I would invite Muslims to add to my line of reasoning here and anyone to ask questions in the comment section.
Types of incarceration facilities
Those incarcerated for felony offenses usually serve their time in federal or state prisons. Less serious offenders, such as those convicted of misdemeanor offenses, may receive a short term sentence to be served in a local city or county jail, or to alternative forms of sanctions such as community corrections (halfway house) or house arrest. Different U.S. prisons operate at different levels of security, ranging from minimum-security prisons—that mainly house non-violent offenders—to Supermax facilities that house the most dangerous criminals.
The federal government, states, counties, and many individual cities have facilities to confine people. Generally, “prison” refers to facilities for holding convicted felons (offenders who commit crimes where the sentence is at least one year). Individuals awaiting trial, being held pending citations for non-custodial offenses, and those convicted of misdemeanors (crimes which carry a sentence of less than one year), are generally held in county jails.
In most states, cities operate small jail facilities, sometimes simply referred to as “lock-ups”, used only for very short-term incarceration—can be held for up to 72 business hours or up to five days—until the prisoner comes before a judge for the first time or receives a citation or summons before being released or transferred to a larger jail. Some states have “unified” systems, in which all the jails and prisons are operated by the state. The federal government also operates various “detention centers” in major urban areas or near federal courthouses to hold criminal defendants appearing in federal court.
Many of the smaller county and city jails do not classify prisoners (that is, there is no separation by offense type and other factors). While some of these small facilities operate as “close security” facilities, to prevent prisoner-on-prisoner violence and increase overall security, others may put many prisoners into the same cells without regard to their individual criminal histories. Other local jails are large and have many different security levels. For example, one of the largest jails in the United States is Cook County Jail in Cook County (located in Chicago). This facility has eleven different divisions, including one medical unit and two units for female prisoners, with each of the eleven divisions operating at a different security level, ranging from dormitory-style open housing to super-secure lock-down.
In the state of California, to prevent violence, prisoners are segregated by race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation while held in county jails and in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation‘s reception centers, where newly committed prisoners are assessed prior to being transferred to their “mainline”, long-term institutions.
|USA and territories.
|Federal and state prisons||1,518,559|
|Jails in Indian country||2,135|
|Foreign and secret prisons ||~400-20000|
American prisons and jails held 2,297,400 inmates in 2009. Approximately one in every 18 men in the United States is behind bars or being monitored. A significantly greater percentage of the American population is in some form of correctional control; crime rates have declined by about 25 percent from 1988-2008. 70% of prisoners in the United States are non-whites. In recent decades the U.S. has experienced a surge in its prison population, quadrupling since 1980, partially as a result of mandatory sentencing that came about during the “war on drugs.” Violent crime and property crime have declined since the early 1990s.
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.
As of 2009, the three states with the lowest ratio of imprisoned to civilian population are Maine (150 per 100,000), Minnesota (189 per 100,000), and New Hampshire (206 per 100,000). The three states with the highest ratio are Louisiana (881 per 100,000), Mississippi (702 per 100,000) and Oklahoma (657 per 100,000).
In 2009, 92.9% of prisoners were male.
In 2009, about 1 out of every 136 U.S. residents was incarcerated either in prison or jail. The total amount being 2,297,400, with 1,617,478 in state and federal prisons and 679,992 in local jails.
A 2005 report estimated that 27% of federal prison inmates are noncitizens, convicted of crimes while in the country legally or illegally. However, federal prison inmates only account for six percent of the total incarcerated population; noncitizen populations in state and local prisons are more difficult to establish. The World Prison Brief puts the total number of foreign prisoners in all federal, state and local facilities at 5.9%.
Blacks accounted for 38.2% of the prison population in 2009, despite making up just 12.4% of the general population. Similarly, Hispanics are over-represented in the prison population in 2009, accounting for 20.7% of those incarcerated.
According to DOJ 2009 data, Black non-Hispanic males, with an incarceration rate of 4,749 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents of the same race and gender, were incarcerated at a rate more than 6 times higher than white non-Hispanic males (708 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents) and 2.6 times higher than Hispanic males (1,822 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents).
Census data for 2000, which included a count of the number and race of all individuals incarcerated in the United States, revealed a dramatic racial disproportion of the incarcerated population in each state: the proportion of blacks in prison populations exceeded the proportion among state residents in every single state. In twenty states, the percent of blacks incarcerated was at least five times greater than their share of resident population.
A judge sentences a person convicted of a crime. The length of the prison term depends upon multiple factors including the severity and type of the crime, state and/or federal sentencing guidelines, the convicted’s criminal record, and the personal discretion of the judge. These factors may be different in each state and in the federal system as well. The vast majority of criminal convictions arise from plea bargains, in which an agreement is made between prosecutors and defense counsel for the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge for a lesser sentence than they would receive if found guilty at trial.
Some prisoners are given life sentences. In some cases, a life sentence means life, without the possibility of parole. In other cases, people with life sentences are eligible for parole after a time period determined at the time of sentencing. In some states the death penalty may be applied, death row inmates are kept in prison until their execution.
- ^ a b Correctional Population Trends Chart. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics
- ^ a b Jail Inmates at Midyear 2009 – Statistical Tables. By Minton D. Todd. June 3, 2010. NCJ 230122. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. See Table 7 of the PDF file for percent unconvicted.
- ^ a b c Sickmund, M., Sladky, T.J., Kang, W., & Puzzanchera, C. (2008). “Easy Access to the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement.” Available: http://ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/ezacjrp – click “crosstabs” at the top, and then choose the census year. Click “Show table” to get the total number of juvenile inmates for that year. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
- ^ a b c d Prisoners in 2008. (NCJ 228417). December 2009 report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. By William J. Sabol, Ph.D. and Heather C. West, Ph.D., BJS Statisticians. Also, Matthew Cooper, BJS Intern. Table 9 on page 8 of the PDF file has the number of inmates in state or federal public prison facilities, local jails, U.S. territories, military facilities, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) owned and contracted facilities, jails in Indian country, and juvenile facilities. Table 8 on page 8 has the incarceration rates for 2000, 2007, and 2008.
- ^ a b c d e f Walmsley, Roy (2009). “World Prison Population List. 8th edition” (PDF). International Centre for Prison Studies. School of Law, King’s College London. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/downloads/wppl-8th_41.pdf. “The information is the latest available in early December 2008. … Most figures relate to dates between the beginning of 2006 and the end of November 2008.” According to the summary on page one there were 2.29 million U.S. inmates and 9.8 million inmates worldwide. The U.S. held 23.4% of the world’s inmates. The U.S. total in this report is for Dec. 31, 2007 (see page 3) and does not include inmates in juvenile detention facilities. For the latest info worldwide see World Prison Brief.
- ^ “New Incarceration Figures: Thirty-Three Consecutive Years of Growth” (PDF). Sentencing Project. December 2006. http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/inc_newfigures.pdf. Retrieved 2007-06-10.
- ^ “Total correctional population”. United States Bureau of Justice Statistics. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=11.
- ^ Correctional Populations in the United States, 2009. NCJ 231681. By Lauren Glaze. December 21, 2010. United States Bureau of Justice Statistics. See page 2 of the PDF file.
- ^ a b c d e Prison Inmates at Midyear 2009 – Statistical Tables – Bureau of Justice Statistics, published Jun 23 2010
- ^ a b World Prison Brief – Highest to Lowest Figures. International Centre for Prison Studies. School of Law, King’s College London.
- ^ a b “Prison Brief for United States of America”. King’s College London, International Centre for Prison Studies. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/wpb_country.php?country=190.
- ^ Foreign and secret prisons
- ^ Moore, Solomon (March 2, 2009). “Prison Spending Outpaces All but Medicaid”. New York Times: p. A13. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/us/03prison.html.
- ^ “Resisting the Prison Industrial Complex”. State University of New York – Binghamton. http://cpic.binghamton.edu/resisting.html.
- ^ “Drug Arrests by Age, 1970-2007″. Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/glance/drug.cfm. Retrieved 2006-12-09.
- ^ a b c d e f West, Heather; Sabol, William (December 2010). “Prisoners in 2009″ (PDF). Bureau of Justice Statistics. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/p09.pdf. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
- ^ Elizabeth White (22 May 2006). “1 in 136 U.S. Residents Behind Bars”. Associated Press. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0522-03.htm.
- ^ “GAO-05-337R Information on Criminal Aliens Incarcerated in Federal and State Prisons and Local Jails” (pdf). General Accounting Office. April 7, 2005. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05337r.pdf.
- ^ Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2006 (NCJ 217675). U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. The percentages are for adult males, and are from page 1 of the PDF file.
- ^ “B02001. RACE – Universe: TOTAL POPULATION”. 2009 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-context=dt&-ds_name=ACS_2009_1YR_G00_&-mt_name=ACS_2009_1YR_G2000_B02001&-CONTEXT=dt&-tree_id=306&-redoLog=true&-all_geo_types=N&-currentselections=ACS_2006_EST_G2000_B02001&-geo_id=01000US&-search_results=01000US&-format=&-_lang=en. Retrieved 2010-10-24.
- ^ “Prison Inmates at Midyear 2009-Statistical Tables”. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/pim09st.pdf.
- ^ NUMBER OF STATE PRISONERS DECLINED BY ALMOST 3,000 DURING 2009; FEDERAL PRISON POPULATION INCREASED BY 6,800 – Bureau of Justice Statistics, press release Jun 30 2010. “Black males, with an incarceration rate of 4,749 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents, were incarcerated at a rate more than six times higher than white males (708 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents) and 2.6 times higher than Hispanic males (1,822 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents).”
- ^ a b “Uneven Justice: State Rates of Incarceration By Race and Ethnicity”. http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/rd_stateratesofincbyraceandethnicity.pdf.
- ^ Mauer, Marc; King, Ryan S; Young, Malcolm C (May 2004). “The Meaning of “Life”: Long Prison Sentences in Context” (pdf). The Sentencing Project. p. 3.