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26 December 2005

NGO Vleeptron Galactic Incarceration Report

Gulagniks in the Soviet Union play cards.
Drawing from memory by a former
Gulag prisoner, a Hungarian.
From Istvan Toth's website.

He's in the Jailhouse Now

by Jimmie Rodgers (1927)

I had a friend named Ramblin' Bob
Who used to steal gamble and rob
He thought he was the smartest guy in town

But I found out last Monday
That Bob got locked up Sunday
They've got him in the jailhouse way down town

He's in the jailhouse now
he's in the jailhouse now
I told him once or twice
quit playin' cards and shootin' dice
He's in the jailhouse now

Yodel ...

He played a game called poker
pinocle with Dan Yoker
But shooting dice was his greatest game

Now he's downtown in jail
nobody to go his bail
The judge done said that he refused a fine

He's in the jailhouse now
he's in the jailhouse now
I told him once or twice
quit playin' cards and shootin' dice
He's in the jailhouse now

I went out last Tuesday
met a gal named Susie
Told her I was the swellest guy around

We started to spend my money
Then she started to call me honey
We took in every cabaret in town

We're in the jailhouse now
We're in the jailhouse now
I told the judge right to his face
We didn't like to see this place
We're in the jailhouse now

Yodel ...


So the Iraqi government can't run its jails in a humane fashion? Well! There's only one thing to do about that! Let the U.S. military run the jails! We'll show those evil, cruel Iraqis a thing or two about how to run a jail smoothly and humanely! You won't hear any complaints from Iraqi prisoners when the USA's in charge of the jails!

What's sort of odd is that, in theory, you'd think the U.S. government would know a lot about how to imprison human beings. No nation on Earth has had more practice and more experience, no nation on Earth has put more human beings behind bars. Since the Clinton administration, the Land of the Free has been the world's largest prison system, with about 2,300,000 children, women and men behind bars in a prison, a jail, or some other kind of locked detention facility. According to NGO Vleeptron, which monitors such matters on distant planets, one out of every four prisoners on Planet Earth is in an American prison.

The USA won the Gold Medal in 2000 when those sneaky Russians freed 200,000 Gulagniks from their post-Soviet-era Gulag system. (During the Soviet era, the Gulag was officially called the Main Directorate for Corrective Labor Camps.) The Peoples Republic of China was never a serious contender for Largest Imprisoned Population. So ...

We're Number One!

Recently I've been hearing people -- Americans -- say, "Well, if they're in prison, they must have done something to deserve it."

Well, yes, I guess most of them did something. Being addicted to heroin or cocaine or methamphetamines -- yeah, you deserve to be in prison for that. Those left-wing wackos who think hard-drug addiction might be better grappled with by doctors and medical treatment -- where is their sense of Personal Responsibility? Where is the Personal Accountability? And why are so many of them black and Hispanic? Black people and Hispanics simply MUST stop being so irresponsible!

But for what it's worth, about 53 percent of America's prisoners are non-violent, the worst crimes they were sent to prison for didn't involve a violent act. (Nearly all drug crimes involve an act between two willing adult participants, a market transaction. If undercover cops don't interrupt, both parties leave the transaction happy and smiling.)

Before we get much deeper into this Land of the Free Behind Bars thing ... it's a relatively new phenomenon, now about 30 years old. So ... if you're an American reading this ... please Leave A Comment and answer this question:

Do You Feel Safer
with 2,300,000 Evil People behind bars?

... but if you're from Oversees or Overtrees, Leave A Comment anyway about any aspect of these things. Maybe your weenie sovereign nation intentionally follows policies designed to put very few of its citizens in prison. So ... are you frightened? Is that scary?

Okay, Vleeptron PizzaQ, Google all you want. Which sovereign Earth nation has the SMALLEST percentage of its population behind bars?

Sometimes being in jail is a Good Thing. In May 1902, a nasty-looking big dark cloud gathered and grew above the crater of Mount Pelée, overlooking the port town of St. Pierre on the Caribbean island of Martinique. Then early one morning the gas cloud rolled down the mountain and through St. Pierre. A few days later, sailors on the first ship that entered the harbor discovered the poison cloud had killed the entire population of the town -- 30,000 people.

They found one survivor -- the only prisoner in the town's tiny little jail, a drunk named Louis-Auguste Cyparis


Associated Press
25 December 2005
[Iraq wrap update 8]

No Handover of Jails to Iraq

by Jason Straziuso

The U.S. military will not hand over jails or individual detainees to Iraqi authorities until they demonstrate higher standards of care, an American official said Sunday, two weeks after the discovery of 120 abused Iraqi prisoners.

Meanwhile, bloodshed claimed at least 18 lives across Iraq, including two U.S. and five Iraqi soldiers killed by bombings in Baghdad.

Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said detention facilities in Iraq will be transferred over time to Iraqi officials but they must first show that the rights of detainees are safeguarded and that international law on the treatment of prisoners is being followed.

"A specific timeline for doing this is difficult to project at this stage with so many variables," said Johnson, a military spokesman. "The Iraqis are committed to doing this right and will not rush to failure. The transition will be based on meeting standards, not on a timeline."

He was commenting on a New York Times story Sunday that was the first to report prison facilities wouldn't be handed over until Iraqi officials improved standards.

Prisons have been one of the sore points between the Shiite Muslim majority and Sunni Arabs, a long-dominant minority that saw its power evaporate with Saddam Hussein's ouster. U.S. officials are pushing to heal the rift as a way to weaken support for the Sunni-led insurgency.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said earlier this month that at least 120 abused prisoners had been found inside two jails controlled by Shiite-run Iraqi Interior Ministry.

Sunni Arabs long have complained about abuse and torture by Interior Ministry security forces. Interior Minister Bayan Jabr contends torture allegations have been exaggerated by people who sympathize with insurgents.

Johnson said that in preparation for the eventual handover of prisons, the U.S. Department of Justice is training Iraqi prison guards. About 300 have completed the course, he said.

American authorities suffered their own black eye over mistreatment of prisoners when photographs surfaced early last year showing U.S. soldiers abusing detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison on Baghdad's western outskirts. The scandal led to convictions for nine Army reservists.

In ongoing violence, the U.S. command reported that two American soldiers were killed by bombs Sunday. No other details were immediately released, and it was not clear if they died in the same incident.

A suicide car bomber slammed into two Iraqi army vehicles in central Baghdad, killing five soldiers and wounding seven police and civilians, police Maj. Mohammed Younis said. A second suicide car bomb targeting Iraqi police in Baghdad wounded four officers.

Bombings and gun attacks killed at least 11 more people elsewhere in the capital, Kirkuk, Mosul and Jbala, authorities said.

In Baghdad's Shiite slum of Sadr City, about 1,000 demonstrators rallied to support the governing Shiite religious coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance, which took a large lead in preliminary results from the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections.

Those results have been attacked by Sunni Arab and secular Shiite parties, which charge the election was tainted by fraud and other irregularities.

The Alliance, headed by cleric Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, denies there was any fraud and is urging Iraqis to accept the results as it tries to form a "national unity" government drawing people from all communities.

Sunni Arabs staged smaller demonstrations in Fallujah and Baqouba to support demands from Sunni and secular Shiite parties for a rerun of the election.

In Fallujah, a former insurgent stronghold in western Anbar province, local government offices closed to support the protest.

"We decided to have a sit-in today and stop work in government offices to convey our demands for a rerun of elections," said Fallujah's mayor, Dhari al-Arsan.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a member of the Kurdish minority, sought to calm tensions by saying Sunday that all factions will have a role in the new government.

"The government will not be formed without the Sunni Arabs," Talabani told reporters in the northern resort town of Dukan, where he met with Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and the U.S. ambassador to discuss the political situation.

Talabani said there must be a "consensus government that preserves national unity."

He said the rights of the Kurdish people must also be guaranteed.

All of the election complaints demonstrate the difficulty that Iraqi parties will face in forming a government after final election results are released in early January.

About 1,500 complaints have been lodged about the elections, including at least 35 that the Iraqi election commission said could be serious enough to change the results in certain areas.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Anonymous Adam said...

My guess would be the Principality of Sealand. It's a sovereign nation, one family lives there, and no one's in jail.

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

no no no this isn't a trick question

i mean a real sovereign nation, with cities and people and highways and a parliament and big-nation stuff like that

not some freakazoid historical footnote Guinness Book of World's Records world's tiniest place with its own flag

this place has prisons and people in them -- just very few prisons (and they're actually quite humane and advanced -- authentic corrections and rehabilitation places) and very few people in the prisons.

one time a magazine reporter went to Iceland's prison to speak to The Murderer, but he couldn't, because The Murderer was off on an unsupervised day pass to go to the movies in Reykjavik, but he'd be back that night. (But it's not Iceland.)

Anonymous Adam said...

OK. Indonesia?

Blogger Bob Merkin said...



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