I need your help. 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 15 years, our campaigns have protected our democracy from the prison system and 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.

Thank you.
—Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate
Graph showing that for the last 40 years more people have been on probation than in prison or on parole.

Data Source: Compiled from Bureau of Justice Statistics' Annual Probation Survey and Annual Parole Survey data series and Prison Policy Initiative Tracking State Prison Growth in 50 States. (Graph: Peter Wagner, 2015)

This graph originally appeared in Probation: The nicest sounding way to grease the skids of mass incarceration.

Since the beginning of the statistics almost 40 years ago, the probation population has grown much more quickly than either the number of people on parole or the number of people in federal, state and local prisons and jails. While about 2.3 million U.S. residents were behind bars in 2012, almost 4 million residents were under probation.

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