Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) Was harshly criticized on Tuesday for claiming that the United States has a “major problem with under-incarceration”, despite the country’s alarming prison population and the highest prison rate in the world.
“We have a major problem with under-incarceration in America. And it’s only getting worse, ”Cotton tweeted, citing a CNN article on the increase in crime in major US cities throughout 2020. The article explores a 33% increase in homicides in the year last, which could be attributed to a number of combined factors, including the murderer. global pandemic, a devastated economy, high unemployment, entrenched poverty, civil unrest, changes in policing and distrust of the police, an increase in homelessness and increased sales guns.
But according to Cotton, the solution to all this is to put more people in prison. His idea angered critics, many of whom pointed to better use of resources to reduce crime and cultivate healthy communities, and noted America’s problematic incarceration statistics.
America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, far ahead of other industrialized countries. In 2020, this metric stood at 655 prisoners per 100,000 population. The United States is followed by El Salvador, Turkmenistan and Thailand.
The high rates of incarceration in the United States have also disproportionately affected minority populations. Black Americans are significantly over-represented in prison based on population. Latin Americans also make up a larger share of the prison population compared to the American population as a whole.
Cotton, a longtime ally of Donald Trump and a staunch Conservative, has already made his “under-incarceration” argument. In 2016, he led the opposition in a bipartisan effort to implement sweeping criminal justice reforms.
His latest comments sparked an immediate reaction online.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up to become a Founding Member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost