December 18 2000
"All over the world in every country you find only poor people in jail. Middle class
kids who get into drugs will bribe their way out or fight their way out with lawyers. It
is only the poor scum boys who land in trouble because of drug use." (Bangkok Post
We live in a crazy society when so many masspeople
are in jail.
The United States has more than two million prisoners.
In the year 2000 one in sixty white men between 20 and 40 years old
locked up but one in eight male Afro-Americans. Four million others were on
probation. The total number of Americans under state supervision has risen
in four years to nearly seven million, 3.2 % of the adult
population. One of three black American youth will see the inside of
a jail when they grow up. And in 2006 the number of imprisoned
people further increased.
Such figures can be compared with the number of prisoners in the
Russian Gulag. The reports about Iraq and Guantanamo seem to suggest
that the mentality of the responsible American prison authorities is
not very humane. But they do not utter many objections as they did
before against the situation in the Russian Gulag.
On the whole world probably more than 50 million able and healthy
people, predominantly men, lost their freedom. The elite, the richer
people, stays out of range and knows what to do with people who
I propose to exert some direct pressure on the personal life of those persons who are
culpable of the situation in which so many men in the prime of their life have lost their
Anyhow a good 2001.
Yours truly, Joost van Steenis (revised in 2006)