Marc Morjé Howard's book Unusually Cruel provides a step by step analysis of the prison process, prison conditions, rehabilitation and reintegration into society, in the United States and Europe respectively. The book paints a shocking picture of the structural cruelty American prisoners are exposed to. It also reveals a system that is not designed to reduce crime.
Statistics say it all: There are more people behind the walls in the United States than in any other country in the world. While the US population makes up five percent of the world's population, the country has almost 25 percent of the world's inmates – seven to ten times more than in European countries. The reason for this: The Americans have replaced many of the lawsuits by "bargaining" on charges and punishment ("plea bargains"), which in practice means that the defendant often admits criminal guilt – with or without actual guilt – for fear of being convicted yet harsher punishment. . .
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