More Americans in Jail than Ever Before

That’s according to a report just released by the Pew Center on the States, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. About one out of every 100 people are either in jail or prison — the greatest ratio in US history. States spent about $49 billion on correctional facilities last year, about six times more than what we spend on higher education, and an increase from about $11 billion twenty years ago. The surge in the correctional population doesn’t reflect a parallel increase in crime, the report noted, but rather because of tougher sentencing that results in longer prison stays.

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