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 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.

Thank you.
—Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate
Graph showing the number of people incarcerated under state and federal jurisdiction by facility type, 1999-2014

Data Source: Compiled by the Prison Policy Initiative, using data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Prisoner Statistics series. (Graph: Peter Wagner, 2016)

This graph originally appeared in Some private prisons are, um, public.

Since 1999, private prisons and local jails have housed roughly the same number of those serving state and federal prison sentences. But when those interested in justice reform talk about profiting off of mass incarceration, they almost always leave local jails out of the conversation.

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