One in a Hundred

You are — if you’re in prison. Only in America. Literally.

The United States has, after decades of law ‘n order, tough on crime politics, finally done it. According to The Pew Center on the States’ new report, One in 100, the United States has crossed this threshhold for the first time in its history. Get the glasses and break out the pruno. As reported in the New York Times:

Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million, after three decades of growth that has seen the prison population nearly triple. 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.

As it turns out, New York is among states bucking the trend. Our prison population declined (1.1%), along with 12 other states, including Texas.

One in a hundred is a shocking number — if you happen to be white.

One in 36 adult Hispanic men is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 adult black men is, too, as is one in nine black men ages 20 to 34.

Gross. The report is full of eye-openers. One of my favorites was this international comparison:


Notice how far down you have to go to find another country that was not behind the iron curtain once? What does that tell you?

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