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A study released this week by the Pew Center on the States delivers a staggering statistic: 7.3 million Americans-or 1 in every 31 adults-are in the nation's prison system. This figure includes those in US jails and prisons, on parole, on probation, or under other forms of correctional supervision. No other country comes close to matching this number. If these individuals were grouped together, they would number more than the entire populations of Israel or Honduras, or all of the residents of Washington state.
You're (Probably) a Federal Criminal
Federal law now criminalizes activities that the average person would never dream would land him in prison. Consequently, every year, thousands of upstanding, responsible Americans run afoul of some incomprehensible federal law and end up serving time in federal prison.
With all the attention that's been paid lately to long federal sentences for drug offenders, it's surprising that a far more troubling phenomenon has barely hit the media's radar screen. Every year, thousands of upstanding, responsible Americans run afoul of some incomprehensible federal law or regulation and end up serving time in federal prison.
What is especially disturbing is that it could happen to anyone at all -- and it has.
We should applaud Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), then, for holding a bipartisan hearing today to examine how federal law can make a criminal out of anyone, for even the most mundane conduct. Federal law in particular now criminalizes entire categories of activities that the average person would never dream would land him in prison. This is an inevitable result of the fact that the criminal law is no longer restricted to punishing inherently wrongful conduct -- such as murder, rape, robbery, and the like. Moreover, under these new laws, the government can often secure a conviction without having to prove that the person accused even intended to commit a bad act, historically a protection against wrongful conviction. Laws like this are dangerous in the hands of social engineers and ambitious lawmakers -- not to mention overzealous prosecutors -- bent on using government's greatest civilian power to punish any activity they dislike. So many thousands of criminal offenses are now in federal law that a prominent federal appeals court judge titled his recent essay on this overcriminalization problem, "You're (Probably) a Federal Criminal."
Consider small-time inventor and entrepreneur Krister Evertson, who will testify at today's hearing. Krister never had so much as a traffic ticket before he was run off the road near his mother's home in Wasilla, Alaska, by SWAT-armored federal agents in large black SUVs training automatic weapons on him.
Evertson, who had been working on clean-energy fuel cells since he was in high school, had no idea what he'd done wrong. It turned out that when he legally sold some sodium (part of his fuel-cell materials) to raise cash, he forgot to put a federally mandated safety sticker on the UPS package he sent to the lawful purchaser. Krister's lack of a criminal record did nothing to prevent federal agents from ransacking his mother's home in their search for evidence on this oh-so-dangerous criminal. The good news is that a federal jury in Alaska acquitted Krister of all charges. The jurors saw through the charges and realized that Krister had done nothing wrong. The bad news, however, is that the feds apparently had it in for Krister.
According to the government, when Krister was in jail in Alaska due to the first unjust charges, he had "abandoned" his fuel-cell materials in Idaho. Unfortunately for Krister, federal lawmakers had included in the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act a provision making it a crime to abandon "hazardous waste." According to the trial judge, the law didn't require prosecutors to prove that Krister had intended to abandon the materials (he hadn't) or that they were waste at all -- in reality, they were quite valuable and properly stored away for future use.
With such a broad law, the second jury didn't have much of a choice, and it convicted him. He spent almost two years locked up with real criminals in a federal prison. After he testifies today, he will have to return to his halfway house in Idaho and serve another week before he is released.
Elemental sodium does not occur naturally on Earth, but quickly oxidizes in air and is violently reactive with water, so it must be stored in an inert medium, such as a liquid hydrocarbon
I agree with the sentiment of your post, however, sodium is not just table salt. Sending some through the mail seems foolhardy to me.
Susan Urahn, a senior Pew researcher, said the US now held one in four of the world’s prisoners. China was second, with 1.5m people behind bars. There are 82,000 people in jail in England and Wales, or roughly one in 500 adults. The proportion is similar in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Originally posted by crmanager
I KNEW IT! You are quoting from "The Worlds Socialist" Website.
Yes there are a load of prisoners in America, but the idea that people can wind up in federal custody for little to no reason is farsical.
The quoted example of federal tyranny is a person who sent EXPLOSIVE material UPS in an UNMARKED package.
Current governmental officials are taking thinkgs to far but please...take a breath.
Evertson, who had been working on clean-energy fuel cells since he was in high school, had no idea what he'd done wrong.