Robin, I suspect that the statistics about incarceration rates in America include people who spend a short amount of time at city and county jails, where the typical stay is a couple of weeks rather than years.
Many of those persons cannot make bond, and thus are held in pretrial detention, either because no bond was set, or the bond was out of reach of that person’s financial resources (and that of his or her friends and family).
I’m a criminal attorney and former prosecutor, and outside of sex offenses and crimes against children, I don’t think it’s true that non-violent, non-dangerous offenders regularly get sent to prison. Especially for their first or second offenses.
Repeat offenders with several arrest and prosecution cycles on their criminal history, YES, they are the one ones who can do some hard time for simply stealing or swindling others. But , at that point in their lives, it seems that they’ve chosen which path to walk, and they pick the path that leads to prison (or death, such as by recklessly fleeing from the cops in a high-speed pursuit).
In my humble opinion, I think special interest groups should stick to their one core issue. NARSOL’s issue should be about sex offender laws and the restrictions that come with such a status. Not liberal touchy-feely solidarity with criminals in general. But, we can agree to disagree on that.