CI: More Than 1000 Words…

December 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm by: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Corrupt Judiciary, Corrupt Legislature, Criminal Defense, Criminal Injustice Series, Intersectionality, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoner Rights

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Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice, is contributing editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.

More than 1000 Words…
by nancy a heitzeg

How many tens of trillions of words have been written here and elsewhere about the state of Criminal InJustice? How ever many, it has not been enough. Despite claims of and calls for reform, the USA remains Incarceration Nation, with a brutal system of harsh sentences, extreme conditions, with a racial dynamic that persists, perhaps because it is precisely the point.

The scope and scale are stunning. So tonight, let’s just look. The following graphics are from a new fact sheet from The Sentencing Project: Trends in US Corrections. The numbers and images speak  for themselves.













Bob Phillips
Bob Phillips

The first "1,000 words" tells an interesting tale. Total number of incarcerations remained fairly steady, even as the overall population rose, with a slight rise through the economic hard times of the Depression, a significant decrease for most of WWII, rising slightly, steadily, not as fast as population growth until the Viet Nam War, falling again until, perhaps coincidentally, the end of the draft and the aftermath of the Black Power movement.

Things that make you want to go "hmmm."


Yes - this is how it is.  This is the society we live in.  And it will change if we determine that it will and work like hell to make it so.  Thank you for this clarity.

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg moderator

class /capitalistic interests matter here too,, 

organized labor succeeded in pushing forward a federal ban on inter-state sale of prison made products in the 1930s..

that was lifted in 1979 so the flood-gates were opened for  corporate use of de facto "free" prison labor.. and of course, the private prison corps follow.

racism and classism all wound up together -- same it it ever was, slavery by another name

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg moderator

exactly so Bob..

New Jim Crow :/ --

thanks for stopping -hope all is well with you

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg moderator

sometimes you just have to look at it kay -- what more is there to even say??

But Abolition..........


  1. […] time to time, when the morass of numbers becomes too great, we need a picture that is worth More than 1000 Words . Prison Policy Initiative offers us just that with Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie A Prison […]

  2. […] its the start of its fourth year of weekly publishing. Much remains unchanged. The US remains the world’s leader in incarceration. Racial disparities in school suspensions/expulsions, stop/frisk, arrest and imprisonment remain. […]