A report released today by the Department of Justice shows that the U.S. correctional population (those in jail, prison, probation or on parole) now constitutes fully 3 percent of the U.S. adult population. That’s 7 million people, which works out to be one in every 32 Americans.
The report’s findings offer a bleak assessment of state and federal prison systems. Federal prisons are running 34 percent over capacity while several states including South Dakota, Kentucky and Montana saw their inmate populations increase by 10 percent or more.
For women and African Americans the findings are even worse. The number of women in federal and state prisons rose by 2.6 percent (compared to 1.9 percent for men) and 8.1 percent of black men between the ages of 25-29 are now in prison.