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I co-founded the Prison Policy Initiative to put the problem of mass incarceration — and the perverse incentives that fuel it — on the national agenda. Over the last 16 years, our campaigns have protected our democracy from the prison system and protected the poorest families in this country from the predatory prison telephone industry. Our reports untangle the statistics and recruit new allies.

But now, more than ever, we need your help to put data & compassion into the conversation. Any gift you can make today will be matched by other donors and go twice as far.

Thank you.
—Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate
Graph showing the change in the jail incarceration rate from 1983 to 2013. Nearly every state has seen the jail incarceration rate has outpaced general population growth: the jail incarceration rate has quadrupled in just 30 years.

Data Source: Please refer to “State Data” portion of original report. (Graph: Joshua Aiken, 2017)

This graph originally appeared in Era of Mass Expansion: Why State Officials Should Fight Jail Growth.

In most states over the last three decades, the number of people in jails has outpaced population growth by 2, 3 or even 4 times. In 32 states, the jail incarceration rate has doubled since 1983, and in 12 states, the jail population has grown more than 3 times faster than the general population. (This chart does not include any people physically present in jails who are held for federal or state agencies. In all but one state (Louisiana), even this adjusted jail population is growing faster than the general population.)

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Events

  • November 29, 2017:
    Legal Director Aleks Kajstura will be in DC speaking at the congressional Democratic Women’s Working Group dinner about women’s mass incarceration.

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