and quit turning out kids into criminals.
Since 2002, the United States has had the highest incarceration rate in the world. Although prison populations are increasing in some parts of the world, the natural rate of incarceration for countries comparable to the United States tends to stay around 100 prisoners per 100,000 population. The U.S. rate is 500 prisoners per 100,000 residents, or about 1.6 million prisoners in 2010, according to the latest available data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).1
Men make up 90 percent of the prison and local jail population, and they have an imprisonment rate 14 times higher than the rate for women. And these men are overwhelmingly young: Incarceration rates are highest for those in their 20s and early 30s.
Prisoners also tend to be less educated: The average state prisoner has a 10th grade education, and about 70 percent have not completed high school.
Incarceration rates are significantly higher for blacks and Latinos than for whites. In 2010, black men were incarcerated at a rate of 3,074 per 100,000 residents; Latinos were incarcerated at 1,258 per 100,000, and white men were incarcerated at 459 per 100,000.
Since 2007, however, the incarceration rate in the United States has tapered slightly and the 2010 prison population saw a decline—of 0.3 percent—for the first time since 1972, according to the BJS.