Incarceration Rates, Prostitution and Drugs
A claim made about America's vast prison population is that such is the price for having "a free society." Of course that is nonsense. Netherlands has a free society, and it has one tenth America's incarceration rate. The real reason for America having the world's highest imprisonment rate is that in America many things are illegal that should not be illegal. And that makes criminals of all sorts of people who have done nothing unconstitutional.
In America, someone goes away for extended periods of time for smoking crack or for practicing prostitution. In both cases the laws against such things are unconstitutional. Government has no business telling people what they can put into their bodies, nor does it have any business telling consenting adults what they can do with their bodies. And the reason for most of the violent crime that is associated with drugs and prostitution is not the result of drugs and prostitution themselves, but because of these things being against the law.
The mafia had its heyday in 1920s, when alcohol was illegal. Because alcohol was illegal, the only entities that could supply it were illegal entities that did things the way that all illegal entities do things - brutally and murderously. The nasty entities such as drug cartels, gangs and pimps only exist because drugs and prostitution are against the law. If these laws change, these entities will have nothing to do, and their participants will have to find something productive to do with their lives.
When something that's in demand is illegal, the only people who can fulfil that demands are people who operate in violation of the law. This is what creates - cartels, gangs, pimps, and further on along the same line. These entities work in brutal and parasitical ways, and the violent crimes that they commit are not the direct result of the business in which they operate. They are a result of wrongful illegalization of substances and activities.
This wrongful criminalization then creates two parasitical infrastructures. One is the cartels, gangs and pimps to deliver the wrongfully criminalized substances and activities to the market. The other is the vast police and prison bureacracy that imprisons people for activities that should not be illegal at cost of $36,000 a year per inmate. The first makes life hell for the people in the communities in which they operate. The second costs vastly to the taxpayer, engages in sadistic practices, and takes many people who otherwise would be contributing citizens and places them behind bars.
There is a solution to this problem, and it is nothing that costs money to the taxpayer; it is something that saves money to the taxpayer. The solution is to legalize drugs and prostitution. With these things legal, the criminal entities that are in control of their distribution will have nothing to do and will vanish from the landscape. The prison population will shrink to a level similar to that of Netherlands, saving the taxpayer loads of money. The American government will not be in business of telling people what they can put into their bodies and what consenting adults can do with their bodies. And this actually will create a free society in America.