United States Still Has Highest Incarceration Rate in the World
Equal Justice Initiative
New prison and jail population data released this week by the United States Department of Justice shows the United States still incarcerates its citizens at a rate 5 to 10 times higher than other industrialized countries. Some 2.27 million people were incarcerated in jails and prisons across the country in 2017 —a 500% increase over the last 40 years.
The Sentencing Project analyzed the data, which is current through the end of 2017. It shows that the prison population nationwide declined by 7.3 percent since its highest level in 2009, but the decrease is primarily attributable to reforms in six states that have reduced their prison populations by at least 30 percent in the past 20 years: Alaska, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 1,489,363 people were incarcerated in state or federal prisons at year-end 2017. At the current rate of decline, it will take 75 years to cut the prison population by half, the Sentencing Project reports.
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