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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Depressing Facts - Prisoners More Common than Active Contributors

Just saw Pew Report - One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008. That statistic is downright sad, distressing - some truly depressing facts in the report. It also really caught my attention because of my recent post around the 90-9-1 Rule.

So, a higher percentage of people are in prison out of the US population than actively contribute in any given population?

Can that be right?

Prisoners are more common than active contributors?

4 comments:

Sarah Stewart said...

My husband is a corrections officer in New Zealand. What is even more depressing as far as I am concerned is that so many of the prisoners he works with are 16-20 year old boys. We are letting them down, and educators have to ask themselves what they can do to engage with these boys in a way that will keep them at school or education programs that will help keep them out of prison.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia Ora Sarah.

You will have heard the adage “it takes a village to raise a child”?

I agree that educators need to ask questions over what can be done to engage “boys (and girls) in a way that will keep them at school or education programs that will help keep them out of prison”. But it is not just the educators that need to ask questions.

For boys and girls, the parents/caregivers, the homes/whanau, the wider communities, the churches and the politicians are all important in this “village’. And while it’s all very well for these members to support the educators to do their bit, it’s the kids that need the support (as well but more so).

Ka kite
from Middle-earth

Mike B said...

I think it is sad to think that 1% of the US population needs to be in jail. I am not sure if our standards of what crimes deserve jail sentences or if we just have more criminals than the rest of the world.

I would hate to think that you somehow feel that the 1% of the people who participate in online communities can be compared with criminals.

But I wonder if you are looking at the statistics wrong. If I am a member of 10 online communities, I could be part of the 90% in most, the 9% in two or three, and the 1% of one community. What effect does that have on the larger statistics? Is it possible that 25% of the population actively participates in at least one online community while lurking in others?

1% of the adult, US population may be in jail, but 1% of the population didn't rob a bank. People can be jailed for multiple reasons and when you combine all of those reasons, you end up with 1%.

Tony Karrer said...

This is a sad commentary on many things in our society here in US.

Mike B - "I would hate to think that you somehow feel that the 1% of the people who participate in online communities can be compared with criminals."

No, definitely not. I would consider the active contributors (most of them at least - not the vandals/hackers) to be a rather highly sought after, valuable member of society.

And very good point about being part of multiple communities. In each community I may have people who are lurking who are active in other communities. So, if you count the online population as a whole and ask what percentage is active in any one community, then surely it's higher than 1% - maybe even 10%. So, that makes me feel a bit better.

Of course, I don't feel better when I'm thinking about participation in my single community that I may be organizing at the time.