Prison Populations

Today’s headlines are full of reports about thousands of prisoners being released from federal prisons. It’s interesting how one simple fact can be used to cover the entire spectrum of mass media while so many facts are left unreported.

Here are some of those facts:

1) Roughly 1,830 inmates are released from prison every day. That means these 6,000 mentioned would amount to roughly three and a half days of normal operations. (The release of those inmates will in fact occur over a three-day period.)

2) Many inmates being released are sent back into the public with no funds; meaning no food, shelter, or means of transportation. They will likely have to rely on the same means that got them in trouble in the first place. (During this recent “mass release,” 3,400 were sent to halfway houses, 1700 were facing deportation and were likely in custody with ICE.)

3) Of the 208,000 inmates currently in federal prisons, 46,000 of those inmates qualified for the early release program.

4) The United States spends roughly $100 billion dollars a year on incarceration. That’s an average of $115 dollar per day per inmate!

5) The U.S. has almost a quarter of the world’s prison population — one in every 99 Americans is behind bars.

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