US taxpayers are funding a criminal justice system that treats inmates with extreme prejudice and neglect, a new report has found.
In a report published on Tuesday by the non-profit organisation Justice for Criminals, the group found that the country spends almost $3bn per year on incarceration, with millions of dollars going to prisons that hold people with no prior criminal convictions.
The vast majority of the funds are used to fund the country’s incarceration system, the report found, and almost all of the money goes to the states of Florida, Georgia, New York, Texas, Missouri, North Carolina and North Dakota.
These states and other states have a long history of criminalising people, and the vast majority go to great lengths to maintain a culture of “excessive incarceration”, said Justice for Crimes.
“In many states, the only option available to those on death row is to spend the rest of their lives behind bars,” the report said.
“When you think about how far we’ve come in the last 50 years, it’s really astonishing to see what we’re doing.”
The US spends nearly $3.6bn per annum on its criminal justice, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
“We’re not doing anything,” said Joe Manchin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“This is what the government is doing to our people.”
The report found that in the three years since President Donald Trump took office, more than 100,000 inmates have been sent to state prisons.
In the same period, there has been an average of more than 3,000 exonerations per year.
A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.
The report also found that states are paying $2bn a year for private security contractors to protect prisons.
The report is the latest to come out about the treatment of inmates in the US.
In November, The Intercept published a report detailing how private security companies have been hired to protect jails and prisons across the country.
According to the Intercept, these companies have faced scrutiny from the Justice department, the US Department of Corrections, and other authorities.
“While private security guards are being paid by taxpayers, these firms are not required to provide information to law enforcement agencies regarding the whereabouts of inmates, nor are they required to report to correctional authorities the presence of inmates with mental health issues,” the Intercept reported.
“Some private guards have reported that the guards themselves are subject to intimidation by the inmates, who are often locked up alone in cells for hours or days without any access to food or other amenities.”
The Justice Department has also accused private security firms of violating human rights.
In March, the department accused a private security firm called Bexar County Sheriff’s Department of “systematically” detaining people for hours without their knowledge.
“The Bexard County Sheriff is a private, for-profit corporation that receives millions of taxpayer dollars each year for the private security services it provides,” a statement from the department said.