People incacerated in jails and prisons experience fear, isolation, depression, and dispair. Many turn to religion for comfort. So many in fact, that prisons likely hold more Christians than do churches. Certainly the percentage is higher than in the general public.

The US is a prison state. While only making up 5% of the world population, the US imprisons 20% of the world’s convicts.

The US imprisons more people than any other country. More than China. More than Iran. More than North Korea.

The only jurisdiction in the world which incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than does the US is the state of Louisiana (part of the US).


A number of factors conspire to create the prison state: archaic laws; reactionary electorates; religious pressures; the War on Drugs; police and prison guard unions; a conservative judiciary; and a corrupt system of prosecution. But the biggest cause is capitalism and the for-profit prison business.

Private prisons are Big Business, and entirely dependent upon a never ending stream of convicts. Most states that have contracts with private prisons companies are required to keep those prisons occupied at guaranteed levels.

As outrageous and unfair as the US prison system is, it doesn’t begin to compare with the imprisonment of animals.

Animal imprisoned in zoos, circuses, and aquatic parks have committed no crimes, not even victimless ones. Yet they are sentenced to life in prison for the profit of their captors and jailers.

No reprieves. No way out but death.

Even more cruel is the fate of most dogs and cats in municipal extermination camps, euphemistically called “animal shelters.” They are murdered at the rate of 10,000 per day.

They receive the death penalty for no reason but that they are inconvenient for cities and counties to care for.

Animal activists are able to impact a small percentage of the animals imprisoned in municipal extermination camps through rescue, fostering, adoption. But they are unable to save any of the poor animals trapped in zoos, circuses, and aquatic parks.

Only legislation banning such cruel venues and freeing the animals can end the misery.

My hope is that people who have experienced the cruelty of prison will join us in the revolution to end the imprisonment of both people and animals.