Tom Cotton: We Should Jail More Americans

"Cotton wants private prisons with it’s boards of investors to essentially decide whether or not your non violent behaviour is worth putting you in prison for."

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) in the Hart Senate Office Building on February 22, 2021 in Washington, DC.


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Republican Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) doesn't think the U.S. is incarcerating enough people.

On Tuesday, the Senator tweeted that the United States has a "major under-incarceration" problem.

"There's no real limit to how far Tom Cotton is willing to go," said Ana Kasparian. "'Let's use federal agents to crack skulls during BLM protests and now let’s imprison more people.’ The fact that this guy is still in office blows my mind."

Cotton linked to a CNN article that noted a rise in homicides across major American cities in 2020, the year that saw the outbreak of a pandemic that's killed over 500 thousand Americans and left millions suddenly unemployed.

"Major American cities saw a 33% increase in homicides last year as a pandemic swept across the country, millions of people joined protests against racial injustice and police brutality, and the economy collapsed under the weight of the pandemic — a crime surge that has continued into the first quarter of this year," the report noted, adding that "63 of the 66 largest police jurisdictions saw increases in at least one category of violent crimes in 2020, which include homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, according to a report produced by the Major Cities Chiefs Association."

While the piece points to a "perfect storm" of factors contributing to the rise in crime, Cotton seems to think the problem is that the United States is not imprisoning enough Americans.

"He’s not seriously addressing this problem. Crime is bad and should be addressed but the right wing has just devolved into nothing more than an operation to troll liberals. If he or Ted Cruz can get dunked on by libs they feel like they had a successful day. Doesn't matter if they've said anything thoughtful or contributed to the civic discourse in any meaningful way," said co-host Ryan Grim.

"One of the problems that Cotton doesn't talk about is there is not an under incarceration problem, there is an over incarceration problem and once you have developed a system of mass incarceration that is so deeply intertwined with the lives of working class people, then it’s ceases to have the same kind of deterring effect that it could have," he explained.

The United States has a higher number of incarcerated people than any country in the world. As of June of last year, there were over 2 million incarcerated people in the U.S., with 698 prisoners for every 100 thousand Americans as of 2016.

With less than five percent of the world's population, the United States accounts for 25 percent of global prisoners.

Prison Population Rates for every 100,000 people in the United Staes is much higher than other countries. Here's the list of the top five countries as per the World Prison Brief: USA - 639 El Salvador - 572 Turkmenistan - 552 Palau - 522 Rwanda - 511 Cuba - 510

"Economic anxiety, poverty, those things are connected to increases in violent crime, things like robberies for instance - just this inability to acknowledge that, I think is a big problem," said Kasparian.

"People aren't born evil - there are stressors and reasons why we see upticks in crime and rather than addressing that we see lawmakers like Cotton say we just need to imprison more people," she explained.

Nearly 10 percent of incarcerated people in the United States are housed in private prisons, or prisons run by third-party organizations, which incentivizes a higher number of prisoners, who are then used for labor to bring in profits for these organizations.

"Cotton wants more of that. Cotton wants private prisons with its boards of investors to essentially decide whether or not your non-violent behavior is worth putting you in prison for. We need to focus on the real causes of crime and Cotton is not the right person to go for that," concluded Kasparian.