What Life Is Like For The 2 Million People Behind Bars In America


 

los angeles county jail inmate prison

REUTERS/Jason Redmond

An inmate stands in his cell at Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, California October 3, 2012.

 

Rebecca Baird-Remba

 

The United States keeps 2.26 million people behind bars, by far the world’s highest incarceration rate.

So many prisoners are expensive, costing taxpayers $68 billion annually.

So many prisoners are also exceeding available infrastructure, with capacity crises in Texas, California, Arizona, and other states. The war on drugs has quadrupled the number of prisoners behind bars since 1980. Nonviolent offenders now make up 60% of America’s prison population.

Overcrowding has led to rising levels of violence and unsafe and uncomfortable living conditions.

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