Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Crime Falls - Prison Population Still Soaring

Growing at a rate of about 900 inmates each week in mid-2003/'04, U.S. prisons and jails hold 2.1 million people, or one in every 138 U.S. residents, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

While the crime rate has fallen over the past decade, the number of people in prison and jail is outpacing the number of inmates released, said the report's co-author, Paige Harrison. Malcolm Young, executive director of the Sentencing Project, which promotes alternatives to prison, said many of those incarcerated are not serious or violent offenders, but are low-level drug offenders.

According to the Justice Policy Institute, which advocates a more lenient system of punishment, the United States has a higher rate of incarceration than any other country, followed by Britain, China, France, Japan and Nigeria.


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