Numbers behind the walls

the most recent data on American incarceration shows a reduction in youth locked up but historic rates of people serving life sentences, according to a new report from The Sentencing Project

We go to the Sentencing Project for this week’s report on trends across US correctional facilities.

Mass Incarceration

  • The United States has the highest population of incarcerated people in the world

  • Over the past 40 years, there has been a 500% increase of people locked up because of changes in sentencing law and policy not changes in crime rates.

  • This widespread incarceration has led to state financial burdens as well as overcrowding in prisons

  • There is no evidence that mass incarceration increases public safety

Life Sentences  

  • Though serious violent crimes rates have been declining for the past 20 years, rates of life sentences have remained the same.

  • Life or extremely long sentences have had little to no demonstrated effect on public safety.

  • There are one in seven incarcerated people who are serving life with parole, life without parole or 50 years or more (virtual life).

The Sentencing Project report shows some of the most important and concerning trends in U.S. prison system and shows the persisting issues of life sentences, racial disparities in sentences and prison populations, felony disenfranchisement, and drug issues, and the issue that encompasses and connects to every other trend: mass incarceration.

Read the full report here.

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