Despite its reputation for freedom, the U.S. has the world’s highest prison population rate, 716 inmates per 100,000 people. More than half the countries of the world have rates less than one-fifth of that. The United States’ rate is six times that of Canada and six to nine times greater than the rates of Western European nations, with whom we have the most cultural and historical ties. Why is criminality so much higher here than in those countries? The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but 22 percent of its prison population.
Mississippi took a step in the right direction when, at the beginning of the month, the Mississippi Department of Human Services announced it would implement work requirements for single people between the ages of 18 and 49 who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly called food stamps. Although this is a positive development, there is still much that could be done to better help the State of Mississippi move people in poverty from government dependency to self-sufficiency.
Don Fotheringham’s Nov. 17 op-ed titled “Americans pay a high price for ignorance,” which is about the Assembly of State Legislatures’ (ASL) annual convention on Nov. 11–13 in Salt Lake City, completely misunderstands the motivations and the careful constitutional path planned out by advocates of invoking Article V for constitutional reform. The members of this movement wish to restore the sovereignty of the people, not usurp it.