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by Peter Moskos

June 8, 2008

2.3 million behind bars

America's incarceration population and rate continue to increase. At a cost of about $60 billion per year, we hold 2.3 million people behind bars. Details in the recently released Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletins Prison Inmates at Midyear 2007 and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2007.

ABC news reports:
The report provides a breakdown, noting "of the 2.3 million inmates in custody, 2.1 million were men and 208,300 were women. Black males represented the largest percentage (35.4 percent) of inmates held in custody, followed by white males (32.9 percent) and Hispanic males (17.9 percent)."

The United States leads the industrialized world in incarceration. In fact, the U.S. rate of incarceration (762 per 100,000) is five to eight times that of other highly developed countries, according to The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice think tank.

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