Still Leading Russia, but Only by a Little
"More than 1.5 million people are now in U.S. state and federal prisons, up from 196,429 in 1970, the report said. Another 750,000 people are in local jails. The U.S. incarceration rate is the world's highest, followed by Russia, according to 2006 figures compiled by Kings College in London."
U.S. prison system a costly and harmful failure: report
Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:06pm EST
By Randall Mikkelsen
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of people in U.S. prisons has risen eight-fold since 1970, with little impact on crime but at great cost to taxpayers and society, researchers said in a report calling for a major justice-system overhaul.
The report on Monday cites examples ranging from former vice-presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby to a Florida woman's two-year sentence for throwing a cup of coffee to make its case for reducing the U.S. prison population of 2.2 million -- nearly one-fourth of the world's total.
It recommends shorter sentences and parole terms, alternative punishments, more hel…