WASHINGTON – The U.S. prison population edged up slightly last year, though the number of total inmates dropped in 20 states, including New York, Georgia and Michigan.
Justice Department figures released Tuesday show the overall state and federal prison population stands at a record 1.6 million and is still rising, but the rate of growth is slowing as state authorities look for cheaper ways to mete out justice.
If you add in those people in jails – where some are held while they await trial – the total number of people behind bars comes to 2.3 million.
The government figures show one out of every 133 U.S. residents was in prison or jail at the end of last year.
The statistics are the latest evidence that the rapid growth of prisons seen in the 1990s has cooled significantly in this decade. Continue reading