11 facts about America’s prison population

By Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas

prison_barsHere’s a bit of context for Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to encourage federal prosecutors to charge low-level drug offenders with less severe crimes (thanks to Dylan Matthews and Brad Plumer for doing a lot of the spade work here):

– The U.S. prison population is more than 2.4 million.

– That’s more than quadrupled since 1980.

– That means more than one out of every 100 American adults is behind bars.

– About 14 percent of the prison population is in federal prison — that’s the group Holder is talking about.

– The single largest driver in the increase in the federal prison population since 1998 is longer sentences for drug offenders.

– The average inmate in minimum-security federal prison costs $21,000 each year. The average inmate in maximum-security federal prisons costs $33,000 each year.

– Federal prison costs are expected to rise to 30 percent of the Department of Justice’s budget by 2020.

–  Sens. Dick Durbin, Pat Leahy, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul have all endorsed legislation to give federal judges more flexibility when sentencing non-violent offenders. Holder backs the bill, too.

– The most serious charge against 51 percent of those inmates is a drug offense. Only four percent are in for robbery and only one percent are in for homicide.

via Wonkbook: 11 facts about America’s prison population.

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About The Soul Brother

An observer to the world. I have a unique view of the world and want to share it. It's all in love from the people of the "blues". Love, Knowledge, and Sharing amongst all is the first steps towards solving all the problems amongst humanity.
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