The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

How about cage-free people?

with 3 comments

A cock and a hen roosting together.
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US land of the free: 2,131,180 prisoners

I wonder at the oddness of it.

We in the USA prefer the eggs of cage-free chickens. Yet we cage more people than any other nation.

I guess we think cages bad for chickens but useful for humans.

At caging the latter, we are certainly the world’s most prolific:

clipped from
The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. […]

“Far from serving as a model for the world, contemporary America is viewed with horror,” James Q. Whitman, a specialist in comparative law at Yale, wrote last year in Social Research. “Certainly there are no European governments sending delegations to learn from us about how to manage prisons.”

This series of articles examines commonplace aspects of the American justice system that are actually unique in the world.

Previous Articles in the Series »

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Now, surely most people in prison are not there because they’re dangerous. Violent crimes are only a small fraction of jail-meriting offenses here. So most prisoners are not locked up to protect the rest of us.

We must have locked them up, then, because we thought it good for them.

But we’re sure it makes chickens worse.

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3 Responses

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  1. How true. Some of my friends tell me that with the increasing privatization of the prison industry, there is an ever-growing lobby of people who have a vested interest in preventing serious change in sentencing laws. I have seen a few really excellent and life-changing programs in prisons, but the prison environment of drugs, gangs, and violence – not to mention the vast numbers of inmates who are there because they are mentally ill and get no real care on the outside – usually create more tragedy. Smart, don’t you think – take a young man who’s having trouble fitting in to society, and give him a few years practice in operating in a drugs, gangs, and violence culture? It is stupid – and a reflection of how our culture is more vindictive than redemptive.

    And yes, you bet – any time you come down, bring a couple dozen, and we’ll gladly pay whatever you want for them. Thanks!


    April 29, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    • And how our culture is not only more vindictive than redemptive, but vindictive to the point of self- destruction! Reminds me of a song of Brian McLaren:
      The human race is building/A suicide machine.
      The people cheer and dance/as gears are turning.
      When will we wake up/from this self-destructive scheme
      So everything can change…God’s kingdom coming!

      O God of love and mercy, let your will be done!
      O God of love and mercy, let your will be done!

      Songs for a Revolution of Hope


      April 29, 2009 at 2:42 pm

  2. Yeah, and you know what bugs me most about our prison system besides just how many people are in it? IT DOESN’T work! People come out of there worse criminals than when they went in!

    By the way, we have ‘technically’ (meaning our chickens get outside, but are still penned) free range eggs if you ever want some :-)


    April 29, 2009 at 2:01 pm

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