graph showing the combined U.S. prison population from 1978 to 2017 along with the annual change. Incarceration grew 7-9% year in the 1980s and 1990s, but is shrinking now at a much slower rate, only about 1% a year

Data Source: Prison populations as of December 31. Does not include jails which are about a third of the total incarcerated population. Data compiled from Bureau of Justice Statistics and Vera Institute of Justice sources. (Graph: Peter Wagner, 2018)

This graph originally appeared in Incremental declines can’t erase mass incarceration.

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