Monday, October 24, 2005

JAMES TAYLOR has been named by the Musicares Foundation as an outstanding humanitarian, and will be recognized for that honor at a special gala dinner on February 6, two nights before the Grammy Awards.

Taylor is being honored "as an extraordinary human being, musician and humanitarian who has made a global impact on music and culture," according to Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy and its MusiCares Foundation. "As the quintessential singer/songwriter, he embodies the creative spirit that is the hallmark of our finest and most enduring musical icons. His impact on the music and culture of our era has been enormous."


Here's an interesting statistic. The United States has more prisoners both in actual numbers and as a percentage of population than China. The population of the U.S. is 296 million; the population of China is 1.3 billion. The total number of people behind bars in the U.S. was 2.3 million at the end of 2004; in China that figure was 1.5 million. In fact, the U.S. has more prisoners per capita than any other country in the world.

But here's the clincher: The U.S. prison population increased by almost 2 percent last year. So not only do we have more prisoners behind bars than any other country in the world; but the gap is getting bigger. This jump left already overcrowded prisons at 40 percent over capacity, according to the Justice Department.

The Justice Department said the U.S. incarceration rate hit 486 sentenced inmates per 100,000 last year, up 18 percent from 411 a decade ago.

The five states with the highest incarceration rates last year were all in the South, led by Louisiana with 816 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 state residents. The five states with the lowest rates were all in the North, with Maine experiencing 148 sentenced inmates per 100,000 state residents in 2004, according to the Justice Department figures.

The U.S. prison population continued to grow last year even though reports of violent crime during 2004 were at the lowest level since the government began compiling statistics 32 years ago, according to a government report released in September.

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