The (3.)1%

No society currently imprisons more of its citizens than the United States of America.

The population of the United States of America accounts for around five percent of the total number of humans in the world. The population of the US prison system accounts for nearly twenty-five percent of the number of humans currently incarcerated around the world. In US specific terms, at year’s end 2009, 2,292,133 citizens were incarcerated countrywide. In 2009, the estimatedpopulation of the United States of America was 305,529,237. If you squint a bit you can see where the “1 in 100” statement is coming from in reference to the number of Americans behind bars, but that’s more just rounding.

That being said, if you count the number of people currently paroled or on probation (and we did, the number in 2009 being 4,933,667) and combine that with the total of citizens incarcerated at the time, you have 7,225,800 (3.1% of the population) American adults (juvie accounts for around 87,000 people) under some form of “correctional supervision.”

Breaking it down by populations (because who doesn’t love to do that?) we see that 92.9 percent of inmates are male. Easy math makes for 7.1% being female, a ratio of 13:1 male:female.

Of the nearly 2.3 million imprisoned citizens, 39.4% (a bit over 900,000) are non-Hispanic black. According to the 2010 census, that same minority group comprises 12.6% of the total population. 1 in 15 (6%) black citizens are currently incarcerated. For black men, it’s 1 in 9 (11%). It does beat the approximately 100% rate we had going on a century or two ago, at least. Nothing to see here. Move along.


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