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23 Jul, 2009 07:29

America in poverty and behind bars

American author and journalist Sasha Abramsky talked to RT’s Anastasia Churkina about the staggering number of hungry Americans embedded in poverty, and the atrocities of the US prison system.

“There are about 33 million people on food stamps in this country at the moment and there are ten million more poor enough for food stamps. And there are people who have jobs but whose salary does not stretch to cover the month’s bills, and there are several tens of millions more in this category.”

“At the moment, as a legacy of the last quarter century of economic policy, we have got this sort of cascading crisis of poverty, maybe previously affecting 10-15% of the society, now we get 20-25% who on a daily basis are very vulnerable.”

“The incarceration that started in the 1970s and continues at the current moment is transforming America into the single largest incarceration country on Earth. We are out-incarcerating Russia. We are out-incarcerating China. We are out-incarcerating every other country whether authoritarian or democratic. We went from a country with about 100 incarcerated out of 100,000 to 1000 incarcerated per 100,000. We have 2.3 million Americans, or 1% of the entire population, behind bars.”