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The U.S. is the world's leader in in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the prisons or jails, which is a 500% increase over the past 30 years.¹ This has resulted in prison overcrowding and state governments being overwhelmed by the burden of funding.¹ Incarceration refers to the act of incarcerating or putting in prison or another enclosure.²

The destructive effects of mass incarceration and harsh punishment are visited disproportionately upon individuals and communities of color.² The intent was to reduce corrections populations and budgets, to generate savings for the purpose of reinvesting in high incarceration communities to make them safer, stronger, more prosperous and equitable.²

Over the last 40 years, the American penal system has been dominated by relentless growth.³ The culture of punishment has been aggressively implemented at every stage of the criminal justice process: arresting, charging, sentencing, confining, releasing, and supervising.³ This did not occur by accident, but rather as a result of "deliberate policy choices that impose intentionally punitive sentences that have increased both the numbers of people entering the system and how long they remain under correctional control."³


Image source:

1. Wikimedia


1. The Sentencing Project. Incarceration. Retrieved May 7, 2014, from

2. Merriam-Webster. Incarceration. Retrieved May 7, 2014, from

3. The Sentencing Project. Ending Mass Incarceration. Retrieved May 7, 2014, from

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