The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Jailing Working Poor

Mar 2, 2015

On any given day in the U.S., 731,000 people are locked up in jails, according to a recent report by Vera Institute of Justice. And there are nearly 12 million jail admissions each year, staggeringly higher than any other country in the world.

Jails form an incarceration system separate from the prisons. These are more than 3,000 locally run facilities, mainly holding arrested but not yet convicted people.

Over the years many people have been trapped into the jail system for long jail times. People were jailed an average of 23 days in 2013. Around 75 percent of them were jailed for minor or non-violent offenses, related to traffic, property, drug, or public order related violations. More than a half of the jailed people were later found innocent – even by this “justice” system biased against working people.

One basic reason why people find themselves locked up for longer times is that they don’t have enough money to defend themselves or pay the bail. That is, they are mainly working or unemployed poor people.

By criminalizing poverty, jails and prisons are responses of this rich capitalist system to worsening economic and social conditions for the working people.