For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars, according to a new report.These are extraordinary numbers.
Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.
Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.
I want you to consider, the next time you read some New York Times mouthpiece yammering about an "increasingly authoritarian Russia," or about the repressions of this or that state in the "Muslim world," that a person is more likely to be thrown in jail in the United States than in Saudi Arabia.