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May 21st, 2014
04:18 PM ET

Gingrich & Jones: Prison system is failing America

The numbers are arresting.

If Americans under correctional supervision counted as a city of their own, they would form the largest city in the United States after New York.

The number of people in prison, on parole or on probation, 6.9 million Americans, exceeds the populations of the second- and third-largest cities, Los Angeles and Chicago, combined. Or the size of the next four - Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Antonio - put together.

Thirty-eight U.S. states are home to fewer people than live under the corrections system in this country. There are about as many people behind bars as live in Chicago. That's one in every 108 Americans. One in 35 are under some form of correctional supervision.

Among African Americans, the numbers are even more horrifying. According to the NAACP, one in three black males born in the United States today is likely to spend time in prison at some point in his life. That's compared with one in six Hispanic males or one in 25 white males.

It would be hard to overstate the scale of this tragedy. For a nation that loves freedom and cherishes our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the situation should be intolerable. It is destroying lives and communities. FULL STORY.

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Filed under: CNN Opinion • Newt Gingrich • Prison system • Van Jones
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Minnie Mouse

    Add on: There needs to be more support and care for the mentally ill. This is a huge impact on why our prison system is failing also. A person going into prison who's already mentally ill or even if he or she isn't even diagnosed with anything as of yet, will come out of prison worst off than they were before being in prison by means of mental state of mind.

    To many of the prisoners need mental health care assistance and continuous care. Some of these people need places to call home because a lot of them have no friends or family support. There needs to be more group homes.

    We're not helping anyone in our communities, our states, our family members, friends ect.. by allowing people to sit behind prison bars when this is not the help that they truly need. We are all going to be paying financially in one way or another to help these people, so the least we could do is make sure they are in the right place and this will also maybe help our communities, schools, streets ect.. be more safer.

    May 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  2. Minnie Mouse

    We need to give out less sentencing to non violent people and non violent drug offenders. What's ruining peoples lives and communities is allowing prisons to sit in prison, eat, drink, sleep, shower, watch tv, use the internet, read, go outside, exercise, receive money, ect until death or execution date, for violently killing someone or more than one person. These people or that person which died, didn't get a choice on how long they got to live. Why do we pay to let the killers continually live on? This costs everyone financially and emotionally for the family and friends to see people live on that don't deserve it, for each prisoner that sits in jail.

    The problem is our system. Regulations need to be changed to where we are not allowing so many people to sit in prison. The prison system is only failing because America is allowing this to happen.

    May 22, 2014 at 9:07 am | Reply
  3. wes

    Newt: YOU are failing America. I am from yourhome state and know exactly how you and your republicans cronies in my state have worked to oppress the poor, especially minorities.

    May 21, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Reply

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