Just the Facts: It's a Locking-People-Up Problem

The American problem with mass incarceration is less about crime than it is about how—and who—we lock up.
JTF 58 1

The crime rate has been dropping for 15 years. But the majority of people believe it goes up every year.


In the past 30 years, the number of people in the penal system increased much more rapidly than the population.


JTF 58 2


The United States imprisons more people than any other country.

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And we don't imprison fairly, especially when it comes to drug laws.JTF 58 4


Fixing the prison problem could solve our money problems.

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Robert Mellinger and Doug Pibel wrote this article for , the Summer 2011 issue of . Robert is an editorial intern at YES!, and Doug is managing editor.


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Graph #1: "The crime rate has been dropping yet in the past 10 years people think it's been rising— U.S. Census Bureau "" and

Graph #2: US pop. vs. Corrections pop.— and

Graph #3: World prison pops.—

Graph #4: Drug users by race— and "" by Bureau of Justice Statistics, and

Graph #5: Money—